RUMA has been forced to issue a clarification following a number of misleading media reports covering the launch of the Government’s new AMR strategy published yesterday (24 January), “Tackling antimicrobial resistance 2019–2024: The UK’s five-year national action plan”.
RUMA chairman Gwyn Jones says:“While we welcome the strategy, I’m highly irritated that the impression the Defra/DoH joint press release appears to have given is that Government has ‘imposed’ further targets on the UK livestock industry, namely a reduction of 25% in antibiotic use.
“What the report itself makes clear is that a 25% reduction on 2016 sales (45mg/kg) is achievable through the extensive industry-developed and industry-led targets already in place. These are due to be delivered by 2020, and achieving these would mean reaching a sales level of 33-34mg/kg, a reduction of 25% on 2016 sales and an ambition the industry is already on track to deliver.
“The impact of this lack of clarity has been a number of media stories that detract from both the One Health message that we as a country so badly need to promote, but also the enormous efforts of our livestock sectors thus far in achieving a 40% reduction in antibiotic use over the past five years.
“The voluntary approach our livestock industry is taking is very much alive and well. But I am extremely concerned that these false impressions could demotivate and detract from the plans in place, putting in jeopardy the ambitions Government is so keen to promote.
“I would therefore like to send a message to our livestock sectors to say that their efforts have very much been recognised and appreciated, and trust has been placed in them that they will not rest there, but will continue to work towards delivering the Government-endorsed targets they have set with the support of RUMA.”