The British Poultry Council (BPC – representing nearly 90% of the UK poultry meat sector) started an antibiotic stewardship programme in 2011.
The structure of the sector makes data capture, monitoring and implementation of programmes more straightforward than in other livestock sectors.
Between 2012 and 2016, total use of antibiotics fell by 71%.
Over the same period, use of fluoroquinolones, a highest priority critically important antibiotic, fell by 72%.
The sector also stopped prophylactic use of antibiotics and stopped all use of highest priority antibiotic colistin in 2016.
Usage in 2016 has been reported as 17mg/PCU for chickens, 86mg/PCU for turkeys (which are very susceptible to enteric disease) and 3.3mg/PCU for ducks.
The turkey sector expects to make further progress in reducing its antibiotic usage in 2017, however,
the chicken and duck sectors believe that they have already achieved significant reduction in usage
and there is unlikely to be significant further reductions in antibiotic usage in these two sectors over the
The usage target the chicken meat sector has set for 2018 through to 2020 is 25mg/PCU and for the
turkey sector, over the same time period, the target set is 50mg/PCU.
The sectors believe these targets are achievable, realistic and sustainable and demonstrate a responsible approach to the use of antibiotics across the poultry meat sector. However, disease patterns can change and these targets may be affected by unforeseen or unexpected changes to the national flock health. These targets will be reviewed by the BPC Stewardship group on a regular basis as the annual usage figures become available.
For case studies, inspiration and technical tools to help farmers and vets reduce, replace or refine antibiotic use, visit the Ideas Hub.