Game sector organisations have been working with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, RUMA and their own sector’s specialist vets on continued antibiotic reduction.
Voluntary monitoring of all antibiotic use in game birds began in 2016.
The Game Farmers’ Association called a meeting of specialist game bird vets and feed compounders in May 2017 to prepare for antibiotic reductions in the summer game rearing season.
The targets now set by the game bird sector and announced in October 2017 are to cut usage by 25% in 2017 as a total tonnage, but also achieve a similar reduction in use of highest priority CIAs over the same time period. Following that, the aim is to then reduce tonnages by a further 25% between 2018 and 2020.
VARSS 2016 data released in October 2017 reported that usage in the sector was 20.2 tonnes in 2016 in the 90% of game farms whose data was captured.
Subsequent to this, data from the 2017 rearing season was collected. An early capture of data was possible due to the main timing for antibiotics treatments in game birds being the spring and summer season. It was announced in October 2017 that antibiotic use in game birds was brought down by 36% in 2017 compared with 2016, including a 53% reduction for those antibiotics administered in game bird food.
The 36% fall comfortably exceeds the 25% official reduction target for game birds in 2017, which means the sector is now focusing on the next set of reductions.