The sheep sector is overall considered a lower user of antibiotics, but is nonetheless committed to further improving stewardship.
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. These are being tackled through promoting uptake of vaccination, and improvements to nutrition and hygiene at lambing time.
A campaign to target Enzootic Abortion of Ewes (EAE) was launched in June 2019. With EAE responsible for more than a third of abortion cases in sheep every year, the campaign encourages farmers to vaccinate ewes in advance of tupping (mating) so that both unnecessary lamb losses and inappropriate use of antibiotics can be prevented. More about this campaign on the Ideas Hub or by visiting the short link bit.ly/EAEcampaign.