Call for more responsible use of antibiotics

News Posted 08/09/14
Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) has published a wide-ranging position paper on antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use in livestock.

Announcing the publication, RUMA secretary general, John FitzGerald, said that understandably there is much debate at present on antibiotic resistance in human medicine and antibiotic use in human and veterinary medicine. The prime minister has raised the issue and two parliamentary committees have considered it with various groups, including RUMA, making submissions.This paper clarifies RUMA’s position on antibiotic resistance and how antibiotics can be responsibly used in UK livestock. It also addresses some of the inaccurate assertions about the use of antibiotics in livestock in the recent Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics (ASOA) paper.

Key points in the RUMA paper include recognising antibiotic resistance as an important One Health issue and that scientific evidence increasingly recognises that the problem of antibiotic resistance in humans comes largely from the over-use and misuse of antibiotics in human rather than animal medicine.

Antibiotics must be used responsibly in agriculture to stop the possibility of their use leading to problems in animal or human medicine with RUMA agreeing with the general premise that prevention is better than cure and believes that antibiotics can be used responsibly in both human and animal medicine to prevent disease and suffering. Removing any antibiotic from animal use will put more pressure on the antibiotic classes used in its place thus increasing the likelihood of resistance developing.

RUMA is an alliance of 23 organisations representing every stage of the “farm to fork” process which aims to promote a co-ordinated and integrated approach to best practice in the use of medicines on farm. A copy of the report can be found on RUMA’s website.


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