The UK dairy industry has responded to the growing threat posed by drug-resistant infections by launching new initiatives to tackle antibiotic use.
The package of measures introduced by trade body Dairy UK includes a new training programme for dairy farmers and improved teat sealant training to be carried out by vets.
The aim of the new measures is to improve the dairy industry’s approach to the use of antibiotics on farm and reduce potential residues in raw milk in the hope of giving consumers and customers even greater confidence that British milk is a pure and wholesome food.
The flagship scheme is a new MilkSure training programme, developed in conjunction with the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), which will cover all technical and practical factors relevant to the use of antibiotics on dairy farms.
The teat sealant training programme has been updated following an initial rollout in 2012 and aims to protect product quality and reinforce the industry's evolution towards selective dry cow therapy.
Dairy UK chief executive Judith Bryans said she believed a more informed use of antibiotics would lead to a reduced use. “These new measures are designed to get vets, farmers and milk purchasers working together for optimal results. Only by drawing upon all elements of the supply chain can we move forward and I would urge all parties to take advantage of these initiatives.”
The urgent need to curb antibiotic use in animals was reinforced by a recent government review, which concluded that the unnecessary use of antibiotics in agriculture must be reduced to stop the spread of drug-resistant infections.