The UK beef sector has identified meaningful objectives for reducing, replacing or refining antibiotic use.
One of the biggest challenges is availability of data to indicate what current usage is; however, the sector is estimated to be a relatively low user, albeit with ‘hotspots’, such as in calf rearing and youngstock, and especially with respiratory disease. For this reason, adequate data collection is a major target.
However, the sector is assuming data will start to come available within the next 12 months and has therefore set a target of a 10% reduction or reaching 10mg/PCU by 2020, whichever is lower. The sector will also aim to halve use of the highest priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) by 2020.
The sector has also identified that monitoring uptake of preventative measures, such as vaccinations for respiratory disease, could provide a useful indicator of potential antibiotic reduction. For more detail on the beef sector targets, please refer to the Targets Task Force Report.
The beef sector is overall considered a lower user of antibiotics, but is nonetheless committed to further improving stewardship.
For case studies, inspiration and technical tools to help farmers and vets reduce, replace or refine antibiotic use, visit the Ideas Hub.