The RUMA Targets Task Force has announced its timetable for publishing sector-specific targets relating to antibiotic use later this year.
The Task Force was set up by RUMA, the agricultural and food industry alliance which promotes responsible use of medicines in farm animals, in December 2016 to identify meaningful objectives to reduce, refine or replace antibiotic use in all UK livestock sectors.
Having held a series of workshops over winter and spring, Task Force consulted with specialists and organisations within their sectors and finalised draft proposals at the end of June.
The regulator, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), will provide initial feedback on the proposals to confirm whether they would meet Government expectations for targets, timescales and rationale.
Once these responses have been received, each livestock sector has until the end of September to finalise their objectives, which will be compiled into a report for release at the RUMA conference on October 27.
The Targets Task Force was originally proposed by RUMA after the O’Neill Review on Antimicrobial Resistance’s final report was published in May 2016.
RUMA chair Gwyn Jones said that while the UK government response to the O’Neill report challenged UK agriculture to reduce average antibiotic use by around 20 per cent to 50mg/kg by 2018 (compared with the 2014 usage figures of 62 mg/kg), government wants the industry to develop its own sector-specific targets, asking for these to be confirmed by the end of 2017.
“The challenge in every sector is very different according to structure, number of producers and the way it engages with the market,” said Mr Jones.