Antibiotic resistance a key issue at G8

12 June 2013

Commenting on reports that Science Minister David Willetts will use the G8 Science Meeting of science ministers to raise the issue of antimicrobial resistance, Peter Jones, President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said:

"We are very pleased to see that the UK is using the G8 Summit to raise awareness of such an important global problem.

"We know that veterinary use of antimicrobials is well regulated in the UK and Europe but this is not necessarily the case across the globe. Action being taken in Europe is important but it is just a drop in the ocean and so we must promote the responsible use of antimicrobials internationally.

"Irresponsible use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals can lead to resistance and ultimately to these vital medicines becoming ineffective. We hope David Willetts will be able to draw on the positive measures taken in the UK and Europe to encourage other nations to take appropriate action."

The BVA is a member of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA). RUMA Secretary General John FitzGerald said:

“The RUMA alliance welcomes the Minister's comments on the need for prudent use of antibiotics in farming.

“However, RUMA does not support a ban of all antibiotics in agriculture. All medicines on farm should be used as little as possible and as much as necessary. This means managing farms to minimise the risk of disease and using medicines only when required and then using them appropriately.

“Reducing dosages or the length of treatment simply to use less antimicrobials to meet arbitrary reduction targets is not responsible use and would increase the risk of resistance.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a complex issue and all groups need to work together to develop decisions based on sound science to manage the risks while allowing the optimum benefit to be gained from the use of antimicrobials to treat humans and animals.

“We look forward to working with the government on this matter.”

Further Information

The G8 Science Meeting is being held at the Royal Society on Wednesday 12 June. Science Ministers and Presidents of the Science Academies in G8 countries will discuss the role of science in tackling global challenges.

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