The BVA has reassured parliamentarians vets are committed to playing their part in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

BVA past-president Peter Jones appeared before an all party parliamentary group (APPG) yesterday (June 24) on antibiotics to report on efforts the association and the profession are making to tackle the issue.

Mr Jones said: “We know the biggest cause of antibiotic resistance in humans is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human medicine and this was highlighted in the joint report on resistance from the Department of Health (DoH) and Defra.

“However, we are not complacent about the role of antibiotic use in veterinary medicine and we are one of the leading voices in the campaign for the responsible use of antibiotics in all species.

“We remain committed to the one health principle and the need for the medical and veterinary professions to work together to tackle antimicrobial resistance. BVA and our specialist divisions are working on a plan to deliver a five-year strategy on AMR from the veterinary perspective. The actions being taken have been published along with those of our partners in the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) response to the DoH/Defra strategy.

“One of our key aims will be to promote the importance of evidence-based responsible use among both vets and their clients. We are already encouraging education on minimising resistance and principles of responsible use through engagement with the veterinary schools and other stakeholders, and through our own continuing professional development programme.

“The use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine in Europe in the future may well be different to how we have used them in the past, with certain constraints on classes of critically important medicines used in man. We will cooperate in adapting to this new environment, but any changes must be based on sound scientific risk analysis and not on misrepresentation of the evidence, or at worst, falsification of that evidence.”

Another key action for BVA is the updating of BVA’s responsible use guidance for the veterinary profession, and BVA’s species divisions continue to work on advice tailored to their particular sectors.

BVA is also calling for quicker, cheaper and more accessible accurate sensitivity and pen-side testing for veterinary use, and repeated this call in recent submissions to the science and technology select committee and the APPG on eggs, pigs and poultry.

The association has also agreed in principle antibiotic use should be recorded and reported and will consider how such recording and reporting may be encouraged, how usage may be measured and audited, and how prescribing habits can be assessed. Such measures will help us to monitor trends in resistance development and track the progress we can make in addressing the problem.

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