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BPC/RUMA: Need for Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Farming

12 August 2013

UK - The British Poultry Council (BPC) and Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance have called for responsible use of antibiotics in farming and human medicine in recognition of the global challenge of the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The two organisations say that British consumers can be assured that British chickens are reared according to the strict production standards of the Red Tractor assurance scheme.

These standards include rigorous controls of the use of medicine under veterinary supervision. All medicines on farm should be used as little as possible and only as much as necessary.

The British poultry meat industry has voluntarily stopped the use of certain categories of antibiotics in the breeding pyramid which are considered to be critically important to human medicine, such as cephalosporins.

BPC and RUMA have said that cephalosporins in the UK are not and have never been used in flocks used for chicken meat production.

As a responsible member of the livestock sector, the British poultry industry started an antibiotics stewardship programme to collect accurate and up to date data on antibiotics usage in poultry. The data will allow better understanding and analysis of the use of antibiotics in poultry farming.

The two groups admit that antibiotic resistance is a complex issue and all groups need to work together to develop decisions based on sound science to manage the risks while allowing the optimum benefit to be gained from the use of antibiotics to treat humans and animals.

According to BPC and RUMA: "We’re strongly committed to a prudent and responsible use of antibiotics in poultry and all other livestock and will continue to engage with the government, the livestock sector and other stakeholders on this matter."

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