Cattle farmers asked to help map use of antibiotics

The study is aimed at refining the use of antibiotics in farming. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The study is aimed at refining the use of antibiotics in farming. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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Beef and dairy cattle farmers across the UK are being asked to help compile an accurate assessment of antibiotic use within their herds by completing a major national survey carried out by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) and the University of Bristol.

“The survey has been launched in response to the O’Neill Review on antimicrobial resistance which concluded that both a local and global focus across animal and human medicine is required if we are to win the battle to maintain the efficacy of antibiotics,” explained RABDF chairman Mike King.

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The survey questions range from attitudes towards antibiotic use to how products are selected. Questions are also asked about how the use of antibiotics is recorded and what potential usage reductions might be possible. The responses to these queries are intended to highlight areas for improvement and targeted action.

The completed surveys, which will be kept totally anonymous, will be made available to the University of Bristol and reproduced in research articles. The final data will also be presented to the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance’s task force, which has been established to specifically examine how meaningful targets can be developed to replace, reduce and refine antibiotic use in UK agriculture.

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