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Antimicrobial resistance
Defra commits to 50 mg/kg target for antibiotic use in livestock

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‘DEFRA has committed to a reduction in antibiotic use in livestock and fish farmed for food to a multispecies average of 50 mg/kg by 2018 (from the most recent 2014 figure of 62 mg/kg) using methodology harmonised across other countries in Europe. Taking this further, we will work closely with different individual sectors to ensure that appropriate sector-specific reduction targets are agreed by 2017 so that future reductions are greatest where there is most scope, and that they are underpinned by improvements which focus on encouraging best practice and responsible use of antibiotics and which safeguard animal health and welfare.’

So says the Government in its response to the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which it published on September 16. The review, chaired by the economist Jim O'Neill, published its report in May this year, making a series of recommendations for interventions to reduce demand for antimicrobials, increase their availability and create a global coalition for action (VR, May 21, 2016, vol 178, pp 514, 515-516).

The Government says that its top priority is a commitment to working with its international partners to create a global approach to funding new antimicrobials, especially antibiotics. ‘That is our long-term goal to address the market failure we observe at present,’ it says. ‘But,’ it continues, ‘we cannot wait until such a system is in place. We need to take action now to reduce the number of infections, to use the drugs we have better and to ensure appropriate access.’ Also, it says, there is a need to promote research into new drugs, vaccines and therapies. ‘In other words, we will aim to prevent infections, protect the …

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