Massive reduction in antibiotic usage of UK poultry meat
The British Poultry Council (BPC) have this week announced the reductions in antibiotic usage made by the UK poultry meat sector. From 2012 to 2016, a huge reduction of 71% has been made, which the BPC describe as 'enormous progress'.
There have been several routes of reducing antibiotic usage in poultry meat production which have been enforced during the time period. The routine use of prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics in day old chicks has ceased and the use of Colistin has stopped completely. Further to this, the BPC's Antibiotic Stewardship Report has agreed several new standards for the Red Tractor Poultry Assurance scheme which will come into force as of October 2017.
During the period of 2012 to 2016, the UK poultry meat sector reduced the usage of antibiotic in weight by 71% which equates to 23.72 tonnes used in 2016. During the same period, poultry meat production has increased by 11%, with 1.79 million tonnes of poultry meat produced in 2016. The great news for the poultry industry is that we are successfully rearing healthy chickens without the routine, and often unnecessary, use of antibiotics.
If necessary, antibiotics can still be used in poultry production, to treat sick birds or in the interest of safeguarding their welfare. The BPC chairman, John Reed, backs this up by saying vets need antibiotics to treat sick birds and so zero use is not an option. John agrees that sustainable use of antibiotics is about more than just reducing targets. Sustainable use of antibiotics, for Avivets, means working with producers to respond quickly to concerns for flock health and reacting quickly to perform culture and sensitivity testing and reaching a quick diagnosis.