The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) has launched revised guidelines for farmers and vets on the responsible use of antimicrobials in cattle production.
Mr FitzGerald said the new version of the cattle antimicrobial guidelines for farmers stressed the need to manage farms to reduce disease challenge and minimise antimicrobial use.
More detailed advice was included in the vets’ guidelines to help them work with their farmer clients to achieve this.
Both guidelines include practical advice and highlight the four golden rules on disease control:
• biosecurity to limit disease spread
• avoid stress
• good hygiene
• good nutrition
RUMA guidelines were first introduced in 2000 and are intended as working documents. They are updated periodically to continually provide best advice. Now in their third editions, the short version provides quick and easy guiding principles that can be used as a working document by farmers, while the longer version is aimed primarily at veterinary surgeons and other advisers, to provide more detail.
The holistic approach to minimising disease set out by the four golden rules helps reduce the need to use antimicrobials, including antibiotics, without adversely affecting animal welfare. It is important to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance without reducing the availability of necessary antibiotics.
The new cattle guidelines are available for free at www.ruma.org.uk