Poultry industry leads the way for sensible antibiotic usage
Published:  17 November, 2016

The British Poultry Council (BPC) has said it is “setting milestones” for the responsible usage of antibiotics over the past year. 

2015’s industry achievements were demonstrated in the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s (VMD) latest report – the VARSS Report – which collated sales of antibiotics in UK livestock. The BPC has shared its own information as part of its continuous commitment to work alongside the VMD.

“The British poultry meat sector has taken a lead in understanding its own use and impact, and we hope that others will follow suit,” commented BPC chairman John Reed. “Since 2011 we have worked with the VMD to collect accurate poultry meat-specific data, and we are delighted that we have reduced our use of antibiotics by 43%. Our priority remains the health of our birds, and the responsible therapeutic use of antibiotics is crucial.”

The council collates antibiotic usage data for over 90% of poultry meat produced. Last year, 46.18 tonnes (t) of antibiotics were used. It’s Antibiotic Stewardship Scheme is focused on three Rs: replace, reduce and refine.

A commitment was made by the BPC to find alternatives to antibiotics, reduce the use through good practices and to improve management processes year-on-year.

“We have made a good start but we are on a continuing journey,” added Reed. “The use of antibiotics to safeguard bird health – even critically important antibiotics as a last resort – is vital to the sector.”

The BPC highlighted that the industry needed to improve its understanding of the complex issue. Reed concluded: “Antibiotic resistance is of huge importance to animal and human health. Now is the time for all stakeholders to work together and be led by the science.”

Poultry industry’s 2015 achievements:
•    Antibiotic use in poultry meat made up only 13.5% of the total used in food and animal production
•    The use of fluoroquinolones experienced a reduction of 52% since 2014
•    The use of colistin has been stopped in poultry meat production
•    Chicken meat industry stopped the prophylactic use of antibiotics