Milling and Grain are very pleased to feature a news story in this issue that discusses some crucial developments for the livestock industry. The UK's Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) recently confirmed in October that sales for antibiotics within food-producing animals has decreased in the UK by an astounding 53 percent.
This decrease, which has taken place over the course of four years, is a great achievement that hopefully will also serve as an example to other countries around the globe. Total sales of antibiotic active ingredients sold in the UK was 448 tonnes in 2014, which was successfully reduced to 408t in 2015, 248t in 2017 and to just 226t in 2018.
Sales of critically important antibiotics (also known as HP-CIAs) also decreased by an additional 0.4t (18%) when compared to 2017.
When comparing species by species, swine continue by far to be the animals that are provided with the largest quantity of antibiotics, with 76t of ingredients fed to them annually in 2018. This is followed by 16t for turkeys, broilers and ducks, 3.2t for hens, 1.1t for cows and 1t for salmon.
As the dangers of antibiotic resistance only continues to grow, this news is a positive sign that we can reduce the use of antibiotics when it is not absolutely critical to use them. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that as many as 400,000 people die annually from food-borne diseases- the vast majority of which are diseases caused by microbes that could grow resistant to the antibiotic we so frequently supply to our animals.
The WHO, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) regularly hold meetings to discuss this ongoing threat and how to ensure the safety of both ourselves and our animals.