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Antimicrobial resistance
Robust response to doctors' call for a ban on ‘mass medication’ of animals

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A LETTER calling for an immediate UK-wide ban on the routine mass use of antimicrobials in animals to prevent disease, published in The Daily Telegraph on November 14, has prompted a robust response from veterinary and other organisations with an interest in the livestock industry.

Signed by a number of healthcare professionals, including the heads of several medical royal colleges, as well as the presidents of the Royal Society of Medicine, Faculty of Public Health and British Medical Association, the letter urged Andrea Leadsom, the environment secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, ‘to introduce a nationwide ban on the routine preventative mass-medication of animals; and to curb farm use of the “critically important” antibiotics’.

Responding in a statement on November 14, the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA), described the message as ‘exceptionally disappointing considering the strong directive from those heading human and animal medicine in the UK to stop the “blame game” on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as we all work together to implement the global One Health AMR strategy.

‘In fact,’ it said, ‘this type of orchestrated rhetoric, supported by scant facts, is potentially harmful to the health and welfare of our farm animals, pets and horses.’

RUMA pointed out that agriculture currently uses 37 per cent of the UK's antibiotics to manage disease and infection, and to produce …

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