A task force set up by RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance) in 2016 to identify targets for antibiotic use in UK farm livestock has been refreshed with in a kick-off meeting held to start defining new post-2020 goals.
“With each sector now on track to meet most of the targets set by the original Targets Task Force in time for the 2020 deadline, attention is turning to the aims for UK farmers and their veterinary surgeons beyond that point,” said RUMA.
Chris Lloyd, secretary general of RUMA, added that many of the ‘easier battles’ on reducing antibiotic use have now been won, making the next phase of target-setting more complex but just as important.
“With some sectors now at, or fast approaching, lowest potential use without risking animal health and welfare or food safety, I think we will see far more focus on ways to demonstrate the quality of management, and the health and welfare of the animal,” said Mr Lloyd.
He added that the new iteration of the Targets Task Force has 10 livestock groups rather than the eight in the last initiative.
“Calves have been introduced as a particular area of interest because of the way they span the dairy and beef sectors, and the fish sector has been split into salmon and trout species,” he said.
The kick-off meeting took place on 10 September, with the group due to meet next in February 2020 to gauge progress. As before, the British Veterinary Association, Food Standards Agency, National Office for Animal Health, Red Tractor and Veterinary Medicines Directorate will be observers, with levy board AHDB also joining this time.
The new post-2020 targets will be agreed and reported before the end of next year.
The new Targets Task Force comprises:
- Beef: Mark Jelley (producer), Elizabeth Berry (vet)
- Dairy: Paul Tompkins (producer), Elizabeth Berry (vet)
- Calves: Hannah Dyke (producer), Richard Cooper (vet)
- Pigs: Richard Lister (producer), Richard Pearson (vet)
- Sheep: Charles Sercombe (producer); Fiona Lovatt (vet)
- Salmon: Iain Berrill (representing producers), members of the Salmon Prescribing Group (vets)
- Trout: Oliver Robinson (producer), Peter Scott (vet)
- Gamebirds: Paul Jeavons (producer), Will Ingham & Isy Manning (vets)
- Poultry meat: Tom Wornham (producer), Daniel Parker (vet)
- Laying hens: Paul McMullin (vet)
- Observers: Clive Brown (AHDB), James Russell (BVA), Paul Cook (FSA), Donal Murphy (NOAH), Georgina Crayford (Red Tractor) and Fraser Broadfoot (VMD).