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UK Dairy Sector Achieves Milestone in Antibiotic Data Transparency

Source: The DairyNews
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In a groundbreaking move, the UK's ruminant sector has published antibiotic usage data, including information from the dairy, beef, and sheep sectors, as part of the Responsible Use of Medicine in Agriculture (RUMA) Targets Task Force report. The data, sourced from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s voluntary Medicine Hub, marks a significant step in promoting transparency and responsible antibiotic use in the industry.
UK Dairy Sector Achieves Milestone in Antibiotic Data Transparency

The report highlights that the ruminant sector, particularly the dairy segment, is a low and responsible user of antibiotics. The effort to compile and publish this data is attributed to collaboration across the industry, involving farmers, bulk data holders, processors, and retailers. The Medicine Hub has exceeded the set targets for the number of datasets uploaded, reflecting a commitment to data-driven stewardship.

Chris Gooderham, AHDB Livestock Science and Environment Director, emphasized the importance of engaging stakeholders throughout the supply chain to encourage broader use of Medicine Hub. As targets for data upload double in the coming years, Gooderham sees this as an opportunity to provide more representative evidence of the sector's responsible antibiotic use.

The UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report for 2022 reveals positive trends, indicating a 15% reduction in sales of antibiotic intramammary tubes for lactating cows and an 8% reduction for dry cows. Sales of HP-CIA injectable products licensed for cattle have decreased by 81% since 2014. The antibiotic use data from 2022, representing 28% of adult dairy cattle, indicates total antibiotic use at 16.6 mg/kg, with HP-CIA use at 0.03 mg/kg.

As data collection continues and expands across a greater number and variety of farms, the antibiotic use figures are expected to evolve, providing a more accurate reflection of antibiotic use in the UK dairy and beef sectors. The engagement of dairy consultancy company Kingshay, contributing substantial data from its antibiotic monitoring initiatives, has been particularly noteworthy.

Sophie Throup, Head of Agriculture at Morrisons, expressed the significance of the Medicine Hub data, emphasizing the positive steps taken by farmers and vets to reduce antibiotic use. Dean Holroyd, Technical Director at ABP, and Natalie Smith, Tesco’s Head of Sustainable Agriculture, acknowledged the collaborative effort behind the publication of Medicine Hub data, recognizing the challenges posed by the sheer number of farms and complex supply chains in the cattle and sheep sectors.

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