Alliance response to the VMD's 2015 VARSS report
We welcome today’s VARSS report which shows that there was a 9% reduction in 2015 sales of veterinary antibiotics.
While the new data shows that the trend is moving in the right direction, the Alliance remains concerned about the overall slow pace of progress. Even accounting for these reductions, total UK farm antibiotic use has only fallen by 4% since the growth promoter ban in 2006.
Total antibiotic use per livestock unit in pigs and poultry remains between 3 and 4.3 times higher than in Denmark and the Netherlands. Antibiotic use in British pigs alone remains about five times higher per animal than it is in these countries.
The report highlights a small fall in sales of some of the antibiotics classed as ‘critically important’ for humans, modern cephalosporins fell from 1.332 kg to 1,202 kg, and fluoroquinolones fell from 2,590 kg to 2,529 kg. Again, we welcome the reductions in farm use, but remain extremely concerned that UK farm use of these antibiotics remains close to record levels.