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·         UK pig industry continues to reduce antibiotic use

·         Further 30% reduction sought as new pig sector antibiotic targets announced



UK pig industry continues to reduce antibiotic use

The UK pig sector has continued to reduce its use of antibiotics, with latest figures showing a 5 percent fall in the first half of the year.


The Pig Site

18 November 2020


Between 1 January and 30 June 2020, antibiotic usage dropped from 110 mg/PCU to 104 mg/PCU – marking a significant step towards the 99 mg/PCU target set in 2017.


The data, which was captured through AHDB’s electronic medicine book (eMB Pigs), represents 95 percent of slaughter pigs during the first six months of 2020.


Industry leaders have welcomed the latest figures, saying it is a testament to the hard work of pig producers and vets across the country.


AHDB’s Acting Head of Animal Health & Welfare Mandy Nevel said: “It is extremely encouraging to see a fall in antibiotic use during the first half of this year. The data reflect the dedication of pig producers and their vets to champion responsible antibiotic use.”


During 2019, antibiotic usage held at 110 mg/PCU due to a spike of swine dysentery cases – a bacterial disease which is treatable with the use of antibiotics.


Dr Nevel continued:





Further 30% reduction sought as new pig sector antibiotic targets announced


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

November 18, 2020


New antibiotic targets have been announced for the UK pig sector, with an ultimate goal of achieving a further 30% reduction in overall usage by 2024.


Various non-numerical targets have also been set, including a focus on supporting reductions among producers defined as Persistent High Users (PHUs).


New targets, which build on the last set of targets unveiled in 2017, have been set out across 10 livestock, fish and poultry sectors in a report by the Targets Task Force, which, facilitated by RUMA, is made up of producer and veterinary experts.


For pigs, the launch of the new targets coincides with the release of the latest usage figures indicating that the UK pig sector is close meeting its target of reducing average antibiotic usage to 99 mg/PCU in 2020 from a 2015 baseline figure of 278mg/PCU.


Data from the first half of 2020 shows usage dropped from 110 mg/PCU in 2019 to 104 mg/PCU between January 1 and June 30, a 5% reduction. This represents another step forward after usage held at 110 mg/PCU during 2019 due to a spike of swine dysentery cases.


The data was captured on AHDB’s electronic medicine book, eMB-Pigs, which represents 95% of slaughter pigs.


Importantly, use of Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIA), deemed to be important for human use, also continues to fall. Total use of HP-CIAs in 2019 was just 0.04mg/PCU with use of Colistin down to negligible levels.


Next targets 


Under the umbrella of RUMA’s Targets Task Force,ambitious pig sector targets for 2021-2024 have been developed by NPA chairman Richard Lister, Pig Veterinary Society past-president Richard Pearson and the Pig Health and Welfare Council’s (PHWC) AMU sub-group.


These have been set against the backdrop of new EU regulation that will, for example, ban group prophylactic use of antibiotics and impose restrictions on in-feed use, as well as the 2022 ban on use of therapeutic zinc oxide in piglet diets. The assumption has been made that this regulation will be applied in the UK.


Various actions have been identified with the aim of achieving a further 30% reduction in average overall industry usage by 2024 from a 2020 baseline, which will be defined when the figure for the whole year is available. If, for example, the 2020 figure remains at 104mg/PCU, the aim would be to reduce usage to 73mg/PCU by 2024.


There is also a desire to reduce HP-CIA use to equal to or below 2020 baselines, once these are confirmed, by 2024.


The numerical aspirations are seen as ‘indicators of success’ in delivering a number of new non-numerical targets, including identifying and supporting reductions among Persistent High Users (PHUs). PHUs will be defined as the top 5% of antibiotic users in each of the main categories of production recorded by eMB, except Boar Studs and Gilt Units.


A programme, possibly backed by funding under the Pig Health and Welfare Pathway, will be implemented to support and encourage PHUs to undertake efforts to reduce antibiotic usage as detailed in a unit specific Antibiotic Reduction Plan agreed by producer and vet.


Other targets include ...


VARSS report ...


Industry reaction ...


more, including table, charts