An immediate ban on routine use of antibiotics in UK farming could seriously compromise the health and welfare of animals in the UK, according to the NOAH chief executive.

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NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard: “The medical profession should accept a strong degree of responsibility for antibiotic resistance.”

In an unprecedented move, 15 senior medics wrote to the Government urging action to tackle the misuse of antibiotics.

Signatories to the letter, published in The Telegraph and coordinated by the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics and health charity Medact, included the president of The Royal Society of Medicine, the president of the British Medical Association and presidents of 10 royal colleges and societies.

‘Blame culture’ warning

In response, NOAH has released a strongly worded statement warning against the creation of a “blame culture”.

NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said: “NOAH considers it far more effective and constructive to build on the number of excellent initiatives, where the medical and veterinary professions are working together to tackle antimicrobial resistance, rather than creating a blame culture.”

Leading initiatives

Mrs Howard pointed to Public Health England’s Antibiotic Guardian campaign and The Bella Moss Foundation’s new communication group as initiatives leading the way.

She added: “We do not support routine use – but that is a totally different issue from using animal feed as a practical way for vets to give prescription medicines to groups of animals effectively, without causing undue stress. It’s very important not to muddle the two.

“The medical profession should accept a strong degree of responsibility for antibiotic resistance; it’s acknowledged human medicine use is the major driver. They need to address the balance of over-prescribing in their control, which, indeed, many practices are now starting to do.”

  • Read the full story – including reaction from the BCVA and the BVA – in the 28 November issue of Veterinary Times.
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