British poultry sector reports reduced overall antibiotic use in 2015
Published:  12 February, 2016

Antibiotic usage data collected by the British Poultry Council (BPC) for 2015 has revealed a 28% drop in overall usage of antibiotics compared to 2014. 

BPC chairman John Reed said that he believes the industry will continue to make further improvements following on from analysis of the data.

“Our sector has led the way, with real progress seen since the formation of our BPC Chicken Antibiotic Stewardship Scheme in 2011. The data shows that the industry is holding to its commitment.”

Over the past four years, the industry has reported inroads in reducing the use of antibiotics while earmarking Colistin as a target for future reductions. In 2012, BPC members signed up to a voluntary ban on third and fourth generation Cephalosporins, a move seen as best practice by the VMD.

Recent data also shows that Fluoroquinolone usage was reduced by 53% in 2015. This comes following a recent report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that UK poultry producers increased usage of fluoroquinolones by 59% in the latest 12-month reporting period.

Daniel Parker, veterinary adviser to the BPC said, “We use the data collected to monitor usage of all antibiotic classes and identify where improvements can be made. Collecting this annual usage over a number of years will mean we can focus on trends.”

Analysis of the data identified Colistin as an antibiotic that could be targeted.

Speaking on behalf of the BPC Chicken Antibiotic Stewardship Scheme, Reed said, “we recognise the importance of Colistin as an antibiotic of last resort for human medicine, the BPC membership undertake not to use Colistin in their flocks.”

The BPC pledged to continue to submit annual usage data to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), to maintain its openness and transparency with both the VMD and wider stakeholders.

In a statement it added: “The BPC and its members recognise the importance on maintaining the integrity of all classes of antibiotics to support human and animal health.

“The BPC and its members do not support the routine use of antibiotics and has strict measures in place to ensure that antibiotics, and in particular those considered to be of ‘highly critical importance to human health’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO), are only permitted if they are the sole therapeutic option to prevent a severe bird welfare crisis.”