Vets are committed to tackling antibiotic resistance

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has reassured parliamentarians that veterinary surgeons are committed to playing their part in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

BVA past president Peter Jones appeared before an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Antibiotics to provide an update on the efforts the association and the profession was making to tackle this vital issue.

“We know that the biggest cause of antibiotic resistance in humans is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human medicine and this was highlighted in the joint report on resistance from the Department of Health (DoH) and Defra,” he said. “However, we’re not complacent about the role of antibiotic use in veterinary medicine and we’re one of the leading voices in the campaign for the responsible use of antibiotics in all species.

“We remain committed to the One Health principle and the need for the medical and veterinary professions to work together to tackle antimicrobial resistance. The BVA and our specialist divisions are currently working on a plan to deliver the five-year strategy on AMR from the veterinary perspective. The actions being taken have been published along with those of our partners in the RUMA response to the DoH/Defra strategy.”

Mr Jones added one of the BVA’s key aims for the strategy would be to promote the importance of evidence-based responsible use among both vets and their clients.

“We’re already encouraging education on minimising resistance and principles of responsible use through engagement with the veterinary schools and other stakeholders, and through our own continuing professional development (CPD) programme,” he said.

“The use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine in Europe in the future may well be different to how we have used them in the past, with certain constraints on certain classes of critically important medicines used in man. We will cooperate in adapting to this new environment but any changes must be based on sound scientific risk analysis and not on misrepresentation of the evidence, or at worse falsification of that evidence.”

Another key action for BVA is the updating of BVA’s responsible use guidance for the veterinary profession, and BVA’s species divisions continue to work on advice tailored to their particular sectors.

The BVA is also continuing to call for quicker, cheaper and more accessible accurate sensitivity and pen-side testing for veterinary use, and repeated this call in recent submissions to the Science & Technology Select Committee and the APPG on Eggs, Pigs and Poultry.

The BVA has also agreed in principle that antibiotic use should be recorded and reported and will consider how such recording and reporting may be encouraged, how usage may be measured and audited, and how prescribing habits can be assessed. Such measures will help trends in resistance development to be monitored and progress being made to address the problem to be tracked.

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