Antibiotic use in pigs fell by 5% in 2020

Antibiotic use in pigs fell by 5% in 2020

A further 5% reduction in the use of antibiotics in pigs on UK farms last year has taken the total reduction since 2015 to 62%, the AHDB reports.

This reduction was achieved despite pigs spending more time on farms than usual, due to problems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and disease outbreaks.

AHDB reports that according to data collected using the electronic medicine book (eMB), antibiotic use in 2020 reduced to 105 mg/PCU, compared with 110 mg/PCU in 2019 and 278 mg/PCU in 2015.

This data represents more than 95% of pigs slaughtered in the UK. The downward trend continues, even though progress was temporarily halted due to swine dysentery challenges in 2019 and early 2020.

The overall result is close to the target of 99 mg/PCU set by the UK pig industry.

AHDB sector strategy director for pork, Angela Christison said that in the context of a difficult year, achieving further reductions was a good result.

She said: “The industry understands how important responsible antibiotic use is and that is why there are tough targets and we work together towards them. The sector has delivered sustained reductions since recording began via eMB in 2015.

“This continued improvement, despite disruption to pig flow during the pandemic, is a credit to collaboration between producers, vets and the industry as a whole.”

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