The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the findings from the 2018 UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report (VARSS), which showed a 9% reduction in sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals between 2017 and 2018.
The report also revealed that overall sales of highest priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs) falling by 18% in the same period. This translates to a reduction in sales of antibiotics and HP-CIAs by 53% and 66%, respectively, between 2014 and 2018.
BVA junior vice president James Russell said: “We are pleased to see further reductions in antibiotic sales in the latest VARSS report, which is a testament to the hugely successful collaborative work being carried out by vets, farmers and the industry to steward responsible antibiotic use and champion greater disease prevention measures across each of the eight livestock sectors.
“It is particularly commendable to note that sales of antibiotics in food producing animals have fallen by an impressive 53% between 2014 and 2018.”
Mr Russell added: “Antimicrobial resistance remains a huge concern for vets, which is why we must maintain this momentum in the face of the ongoing global threat it poses to the health of animals, humans and the environment.
“While it is vital that we continue to build upon these achievements through evidence-based, sector-specific targets to further refine, reduce or replace antibiotic use, a large part of the future changes will involve promoting high animal health and welfare through disease prevention strategies, such as increasing uptake in vaccines.
“Ongoing improvements in veterinary-led health planning on farms will also help to further lower antibiotic use by reducing the incidence of endemic diseases.”