BVA calls on farmers to be empowered in responsible use of antimicrobials

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called on farmers and stock keepers to play a major role in ensuring the responsible use of antimicrobials on farms, and must be empowered to work with their vets to achieve this.

BVA’s updated position on responsible antimicrobial use in food-producing animals, consolidates and expands upon BVA’s existing antimicrobial resistance policies. It proposes 15 overarching recommendations on responsible antimicrobial stewardship for vets, farmers and government.

The position also emphasises that an ambitious, cross-sector One Health approach ‘without a culture of blame’ is instrumental to containing and controlling the threat of antimicrobial resistance in animals, humans and the environment.

BVA president Simon Doherty said that 94% of vets in large animal and mixed practice said in a recent BVA survey that they were concerned about antimicrobial resistance. More than nine in ten vets mentioned that they were concerned about the potential inability to treat infection.

Mr Doherty said: “Antimicrobial resistance is an issue of critical importance to society as a whole and BVA is committed to providing leadership on the issue.

“Ongoing work by vets, farmers and industry through the RUMA Targets Task Force has led to a 40% reduction in sales of antibiotics meant for use in food-producing animals over the last five years, with sales of the Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics dropping by 52% in this period. We must maintain this momentum in the face of the ongoing global threat posed by antimicrobial resistance.”

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