On-farm antibiotic usage data from 2015 onwards has been uploaded onto the industry’s centralised database known as eMB-Pigs (run by AHDB).
From October 2017, pig producers must upload farm usage figures to eMB on a quarterly basis.
Between 2014 and 2015, sales of antibiotics licensed only for use in pigs dropped by 24%.
National data collected from the UK’s major feed compounders indicate that at the beginning of 2014, 37% of all feed for young pigs contained a prescribed antibiotic; this had more than halved to 18% by the end of 2016.
In 2016, overall usage in the pig sector fell 34% in one year, to 183mg/PCU. Use of colistin, a critically important antibiotic, in pigs had been previously reported to have fallen by more than 70%, from an already low level.
Source: VARSS 2016
The pig sector has also identified meaningful objectives for reducing, replacing or refining antibiotic use.
They include reducing the use of antibiotics by more than 60% between 2015 and 2020, to reach less than 100mg/PCU by the end of 2020.
It is proposed that no specific targeted reduction in use of highest-priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) should be set. Usage is already very low at 0.12mg/PCU. It is anticipated that the low level of use across the industry will not rise above levels of 0.1mg/PCU for fluoroquinolones and 0.015mg/PCU
for third/fourth generation cephalosporins – subject to disease control requirements and to ensure health and welfare. Colistin should however remain available in case of serious disease issues, for which its
use is vital, arising. A maximum use target of 0.1mg/PCU will provide for the necessary reserve position but this may need to be reviewed depending on the ongoing availability of therapeutic Zinc Oxide in the EU.