Further drop in antibiotic use and resistance

The latest government VARSS report for antibiotic use during 2018 for farm animals shows a continuing downward trend – half the use of 2014. The pig and poultry sectors are at the forefront of the UK’s success in reducing antibiotic use in farm producing species. The poultry sector has led the way, decreasing use by 80% since 2012. BEIC collects data regarding antibiotic use in layers.

Certain antibiotic classes are categorised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as critically important antibiotics for human use, of which several are designated as ‘highest priority critically important antibiotics’ (HP-CIA). In December 2014, the European Medicines Agency published scientific advice on the risk to humans from antibiotic resistance caused by the use of HP-CIAs in animals. This advice classed fluoroquinolones and 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins as category 2, where the risk to public health is considered higher.
No resistance to 3rd generation cephalosporins was detected in Salmonella isolates from broilers, laying hens or turkeys in 2014, 2016 and 2018. For chickens, resistance to fluoroquinolones was 0.1%.
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The work of the Laying Hen Welfare Forum is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.