BVA responds to report from APPG on Antibiotics

02 November 2015

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Antibiotics has released a report on ‘Non-human use of antibiotics’, including recommendations that specific classes of antibiotics be withdrawn from veterinary use.

BVA President Sean Wensley said:

“The British Veterinary Association has long recognised the serious threat that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses to human and animal health. While we welcome the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Antibiotics report on ‘Non-human use of antibiotics’ as part of a One Health approach, we are concerned that critical evidence has not been considered.

The UK’s Five Year AMR Strategy (co-authored by Defra and the Department of Health) clearly states that AMR in human medicine is primarily the result of antibiotic use in people, rather than animals. Yet the APPG report recommends that specific classes of antibiotics, such as cephalosporins, be withdrawn from veterinary use and reserved for human use only. 

BVA believes such a disproportionate approach, without sound scientific risk-assessment, could have a detrimental effect on animal welfare and the maintenance of high quality food production, and is unlikely to reduce resistance in humans. BVA’s responsible use guidance for the veterinary profession already advises that certain critically-important antibiotics should not be used prophylactically or as a first line treatment.

It is important that veterinary science and expertise be incorporated in to inter-professional action on AMR and BVA, as the UK’s leading representative body for the veterinary profession, would have appreciated the opportunity to feed into the report. We believe that responsible use, alongside improved biosecurity, further development of diagnostic tools, and better-coordinated research and surveillance will have far greater impact on AMR in humans and animals.”

The full All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics report is available here.

BVA Media Office