UK farmers to cut antibiotic use to combat drug resistance

A new taskforce to reduce the use of antibiotics in farming in the UK is being set up in response to government concerns on the growing resistance of diseases to antibiotic medicines.

The alliance for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) said it would work with organisations including farming leaders, food companies and government to find ways to replace antibiotic use where possible, and reduce it where not.

John FitzGerald, secretary general of RUMA, said: “We understand the ambition to develop long-term targets [on antibiotic use]. The industry has long recognised the beneficial role targets can play, but is acutely aware that inappropriate targets can also be counterproductive, and even lead to increased risk of resistance.”

He said the taskforce would “harness the expertise of specialists across different sectors”, and try to identify effective goals that would protect animal welfare.

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