Bristol Vet School: revolutionising antimicrobial use on farms

Researchers from the Bristol Veterinary School at the University of Bristol are leading the way to inspire and change antimicrobial (AM) use on farms and in veterinary prescribing practices.
calendar icon 16 November 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

Antimicrobial resistance - or AMR - is a global threat, with an estimated 700,000 people dying from resistant infections every year. This week (13-19 November) is WHO World Antibiotic Awareness Week and ongoing research from the University’s Vet School has been showcased in a new video produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

AMR is a crucial example of the importance of the One Health concept, which recognises that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment. People share many of the same health problems as animals; for instance, they both suffer from age-related diseases and infections, such as pneumonia.

AMR research at the Bristol Vet School is led by the AMR Force and major questions the group are addressing include:

• Can we impact the way veterinarians prescribe medicines?
• Can we encourage responsible medicines use by veterinarians by using medicines auditing and benchmarking?
• Can we assist in developing medicines use policies with policy-makers, veterinarians and farmers (using participatory or other approaches)?
• Does reducing antimicrobial use impact patterns of resistance?
• How can we utilise diagnostic tests more effectively to better target prescribing?
• Can we find alternatives to antimicrobials to prevent and control disease?
• How do microbes and AMR genes cycle in the environment?

Dr Kristen Reyher, Senior Lecturer in Farm Animal Science, who leads the AMR Force, said:

The AMR Force is working closely with farmers, veterinarians, food retailers and government bodies to encourage responsible use of antimicrobials.

Farmers and veterinarians together working alongside other advisors and responding to pressure from the public as well as legislation, can influence change in the use of antimicrobials in livestock and improve the system of farming for the benefit of all animals and humanity.

The overall efforts of the AMR Force, 'A force for change towards responsible use of antimicrobials’, won the University’s Vice-Chancellor’s Impact award in the Health and Wellbeing category last year.

The AMR Force members have contributed to a number of initiatives including leading the British Cattle Veterinary Association and the British Veterinary Association Medicines Committees, developing a major retailer’s antimicrobial stewardship policy using participatory methods along with dairy farmers, training veterinarians and farmers across a number of veterinary practices on responsible antimicrobial use, and informing industry and legislative bodies including the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA).

As reported by the University of Bristol.

For more information on antimicrobial resistance and how you can reduce antibiotic use on farm, click here

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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