Work in the cattle and sheep sectors is ongoing to explore what a similar industry tool to the electronic-Medicine Book for pigs could look like for their respective industries. Following an initial pilot project with cattle in 2018, a second phase of work for what is being called an ‘e-Medicines Hub (eMH)’ was commissioned, this time for both cattle and sheep data. The aim is to capture: national sector level reporting of antibiotic use in line with ESVAC methodology; farm level data for identification of trends in how antibiotics are being used and to facilitate benchmarking within and between farms. Work will continue on this through 2020.
In the meantime, the beef sector set a target of a 10% reduction or reaching 10 mg/kg by 2020, whichever is lower, in the 2016 Targets Task Force report. The sector will also aim to halve use of the highest priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) by 2020.
2018 usage data from a small sample of cattle comprising 5.5% of the national beef herd has been reported as 21 mg/kg.
Use of injectable HP-CIAs for beef and dairy cattle has fallen 46% since 2016, and is now at 0.502 mg/kg.
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. An updated vaccination report from AHDB shows that vaccination levels in cattle are rising with almost 10 million doses of vaccine were sold for use in cattle in 2018.