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Farm antibiotics warning over post-Brexit trade

broiler drinking water

NEW WORK has compared the UK’s antibiotics use with that of countries tipped to be significant post-Brexit trading partners.

The analysis suggests that British livestock farmers use far fewer antibiotics than their counterparts in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

See also: Poultrymeat antibiotic use targets to remain unchanged

It was produced by the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, which called for a government ban on importing meat produced to a lower standard than that to which UK producers must adhere.

The report compares mg/Population Correction Unit figures, which divide total sales of antibiotics in a given country with the livestock population.

It suggests that Australian poultry producers use 16.6 times the amount of antibiotics than in the UK. For the US, the figure is 1.5 times more.

Canada and New Zealand do not publish figures that allow for a PCU calculation by species, according to the report’s authors.

Undermine standards

Cóilín Nunan of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics said: “Any new trade deals must not undermine British standards and threaten public health by allowing cheap meat and dairy produced with antibiotic growth promoters into the UK.

“It’s also particularly unacceptable that a high-priority critically important antibiotic is being used to control infections caused by hormone growth promotion.”

In mid-November, the UK government released its report detailing sales figures for antibiotics given to farm animals in 2019.

Total sales were up 1.5mg/kg, with an overall reduction of 45% in sales since 2015.