The sheep sector is overall considered a lower user of antibiotics, but is nonetheless committed to further improving stewardship.
The sheep sector has therefore been working to identify and agree meaningful objectives for reducing, replacing or refining antibiotic use.
The sector is very diverse and dispersed, and with a very large number of producers, collecting data from on-farm medicine books is a challenge.
This means that data collection is a major target for the sector, with the aim of reducing overall use by 10% by 2010. Use of highest priority CIAs is also a focus with the aim of halving use by 2020.
‘Hotspots’ of antibiotic usage have been identified, including prevention of joint ill or watery mouth in neonatal lambs for, as well as treatment for lameness and abortion. It is anticipated these can be reduced through increased uptake of vaccination and improvements to nutrition and hygiene at lambing time.