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Reducing UK Antibiotic Use in Animals

This POSTnote discusses the current use of antibiotics in animals and the options available for reducing that use.

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Antibiotics are widely used to treat infectious disease in animals and humans. A recent government review of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) recommended reducing antibiotic use in agriculture. This POSTnote discusses the current use of antibiotics in animals and the options available for reducing that use.

Key points in the POSTnote iclude:

  • Concerns over the spread of AMR have seen moves to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics in both animals and humans
  • Antibiotic use in agriculture varies from sector (pigs, poultry, dairy etc.) to another and depends on the prevalence of endemic disease
  • The use of antibiotics in agriculture has sginificantly declined in recent years, but further reductions will be needed to meet targets for 2020
  • Approaches to reducing antibiotic use in animals include better animal husbandry, improved housing, better herd/flock management, vaccination and disease eradication
  • Enacting change involves managing the expectations that people who use vets (clients such as farmers or pet owners) have of being prescribed antibiotics when their animals are ill.    

POSTnotes are based on litereature reviews and inerviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing including:

Rhiannon Wilson, Policy Bristol for organising the meeting with the DIALS consortium

Dr Robert Atterbury, University of Nottingham

Prof Michael Bailey, University of Bristol

John Fishwick, Royal Veterinary College

Professer David Barrett, University of Bristol

Liz Bowles and Kate Still, The Soil Association

Donal Murphy, NOAH

Chris Brown, SfAM

Dr Coll Hutchison, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr Kristen Reyher, University of Bristol

Prof Sharon Peacock, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Georgina Crayford, RUMA Alliance

Sarah Golding, University of Surrey

Alison Bard, University of Bristol

Amanda Carson, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency

Prof Henry Buller, University of Exeter

Dr Jon Cuccui, London School of Hygiene and tropical Medicine

Dr Katherine Adam, University of Edinburgh

Professor the Lord Trees

Richard Lloyd, Innovation for Agriculture

Sconaid Wastie, RSPCA

Dr Lindsay Evans, Imperial College London

Dr Andrew Edwards, Imperial College London

Jon Massey, University of Bristol

Dr Matthew Avison, University of Bristol

Dr Ginny Gould, University of Bristol

Hannah Schubert, University of Bristol

Dr Ray Chan, University of Exeter

Coilin Nuna, Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics

Susanna Williams, Animal and Plant Health Agency


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