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Responsible use of antimicrobials – key messages from Dr. Mandy Nevel’s visit
THROUGH APL, our industry is a signatory to the Australian Animal Sector National Antimi- crobial Resistance Plan, together with other live- stock sectors, and has committed to the ideals of antimicrobial stew- ardship.
The plan relies on re- ducing antimicrobial use together with ongoing re- sistance surveillance and restriction of antibiotics of critical importance to human health.
This requires good bio- security, pig health, nutri- tion and hygiene practices.
With this, the challenges faced by Australian pro- ducers are the same as those faced by those in other countries.
Some countries, includ- ing the UK, have suc- ceeded in implementing recording systems for antimicrobial use which has required co-operation across many different organisations - there is much we can learn from them.
To assist with this, APL recently supported Dr Mandy Nevel, senior vet- erinary manager from the Agriculture and Horticul- ture Development Board, UK, to be the keynote speaker at the Australian Pig Veterinarians confer- ence in Cairns from July 31 to August 2, 2019.
Dr Nevel shared how the UK pork industry has suc- cessfully reduced antimi- crobial use and discussed the system beening intro- duced to record antimi- crobial use in pigs.
These messages were al- so presented to producers and veterinarians at meet- ings held in Toowoomba, Young, Bendigo, Rose- worthy and Welshpool from August 5-9, which in total attracted over 160 attendees.
These talks were en- thusiastically received by producers.
In modern livestock pro- duction, to manage large
numbers of animals, vet- erinarians need access to antimicrobials to treat dis- ease and uphold animal welfare.
Mandy stressed the need for responsible use, not just reduced use, of anti- microbials.
In some cases, further reduction will compro- mise animal welfare.
It’s a matter of carefully assessing the health risk with the herd veterinarian and working out an ap- proach, which uses medi- cation when necessary but as little as possible.
The issue of voluntarily restricting the use antimi- crobials of critical impor- tance to humans was also raised.
The UK opted to protect the use of those antimi- crobials licensed for use in pigs.
This has been supported by the production by the UK Pig Veterinary So- ciety of evidence-based guidance materials on how to use antimicrobials responsibly and the set- ting of antimicrobial use targets.
For our industry, the Antimicrobial Prescribing Guidelines for Pigs are now available on the Aus- tralian Veterinary Asso- ciation website and acces- sible via australianpork.
I encourage you to have a look as it’s well worth a read.
The UK’s five-year anti- microbial resistance strat- egy 2013-2018 was re- placed with a 20-year vi-
sion, which is comprised of a series of five-year strategies and action plans to target this vision.
The 20-year vision rec- ognises the long-term on- going effort required to manage this important health issue in humans, animals and the environ- ment.
Mandy gave a total of three presentations at the APV conference and these are now available via the antimicrobial re- sistance page on APL’s website.
Mandy said pigs were being blamed as a key cause of antimicrobial re- sistance in the UK.
Without being able to provide evidence of us- age, the UK pork industry had no leg to stand on in the ongoing debate about policy and regulation.
Then, several years ago now, the UK’s chief veter- inary officer indicated if the pork industry didn’t do something to demonstrate commitment to reducing antimicrobial resistance, Government would.
The AHDB initiated the electronic medicine book UK pig producers now voluntarily use to record antimicrobial use.
UK pig veterinar- ians have championed the eMB and encourage their producers to use it.
The electronic medi- cines book for voluntary recording of antimicrobial use of pigs in the UK uses agreed metrics based on mg of antimicrobial/pop- ulation correction unit.
PCU is a unit of meas- urement developed by the European Medicines Agency that takes into ac- count the animal popula- tion as well as the es- timated weight of each particular animal at the time of treatment with an- timicrobials.
This system allows an aggregated anonymised national figure to be de- termined.
Producers are respon- sible for submitting data to the database, which is held by AHDB.
AHDB seeks producer permission via a tick box system to use their data according to rules agreed with industry, including who can access it and how it may be used.
The system now has a benchmarking facility al- lowing comparisons to be made between farms – producers can opt into this to obtain either quarterly or annual reports of usage and how their farm ranks on a national level.
The UK’s pig industry has reported declines in antimicrobial use by over 50 percent since 2015.
In 2015, usage was 278mg/PCU, reducing to 131 mg/PCU in 2017 and 110 mg/PCU in 2018.
The data taken from eMB represent 89 percent of pigs slaughtered in the UK.
Mandy stated these re- ductions in usage may be due to several factors.
They include the Red Tractor quality assurance scheme adding eMB an- timicrobial recording into their pig standards, the development of a new benchmarking tool in eMB to enable compari- sons between farms and continuing biosecurity improvements by the wid- er industry.
These measures put the UK industry well on track to achieve their target of 99mg/PCU by 2020.
For Australia, Mandy’s message in relation to
metrics was simple - de- cide on the metrics we wish to use and measure usage.
We are now exploring with Mandy the poten- tial to road test AHDB’s system here and will be further discussing metrics with pig veterinarians.
Overall, to meet our re- sponsibilities in relation to AMS, an increased fo- cus on good management practices to prevent and manage disease will be required.
Biosecurity, hygiene, pig flow, space allowance, air quality, facility mainte- nance and staff training all play a role.
APL is continuing to de- velop materials to support you and encourages you to seek leadership and guid- ance about the responsi- ble use of antimicrobials from your vet.
The importance of wa- ter quality was also high- lighted by Mandy during her presentations.
Antimicrobials adminis- trated through water re- quire good quality water and clean pipes to ensure your antimicrobials work well.
For access to some great resources and to find out more, visit pork.ahdb. ings/water-soil-and-air/ water-quality-and-quan tity/
Pork CRC has also fund- ed work in this area, the report can be accessed via tent/uploads/2018/08/2A- 118-Drinking-Water- Quality-Final-Report.pdf
Mandy’s visit provided us all with the opportu- nity to learn of challenges and issues being faced by UK pig producers and ap- proaches that are being used to overcome them.
For further information on items discussed in this article, please contact me on 0423 056 045 or heath er.channon@australian
by HEATHER CHANNON Research and Innovation General Manager
What’s the most Australian way to eat bacon?
WE asked and Australia, as a nation you told us.
Whilst millennials have attempted to create a cult following for smashed avocado and bacon, the Aussie classic of a bacon and egg roll still reigns supreme.
In a nationwide survey, 45 percent of Australians de- clared they enjoyed bacon and egg rolls as opposed to bacon and avo, which came in at only six percent.
A bacon jaffle supposed- ly made famous by celeb- rity chef, Colin Fassnidge, received a sad two percent of the vote.
Just over 3000 Australi- ans responded to the survey with the news breaking just in time for International Bacon Day on August 31.
Interestingly, just over three quarters of partici- pants were surprised to learn that 80 percent of bacon sold in Australia is
made from imported pork. Australian Pork’s Mitch Edwards says now more than ever, people want to know where their food comes from and these re- sults reaffirm there is a job
to be done.
“Many people are sur-
prised to learn that 80 percent of bacon sold in Australia is made using im- ported pork and we want to raise awareness of this
to allow people to make more informed decisions, said Edwards.
“Aussie bacon meets our high safety standards and celebrates fresh, quality, local ingredients. If I can choose food for my family that has been grown fresh here in Australia, versus something that has been shipped halfway around the world, it’s an easy deci- sion every time.”
Another timely an- nouncement was that of the best bacon in Australia, with Princi Smallgoods from Perth – available na- tionwide – being declared as the best bacon in the nation.
Princi’s bacon, made from 100 percent Austral- ian pork, was the star of the Australian PorkMark Bacon Awards and beat out over 140 entries from
across the country.
A resounding 90 percent
of survey participants de- termined breakfast was the best time to enjoy bacon and Princi Director, Pino Princi agrees.
“Forget accompaniments or fancy recipes. For me, it’s simply a few rashers hot from the pan enjoyed on a Sunday morning while I read my paper. You just can’t beat that.”
Bacon and egg roll.
Colin Fassnidge’s Bacon Jaffle.
Pig Industry Calendar of Events
SEP 21 - OCT 1 – Royal Melbourne Show, Melbourne Showgrounds VIC
OCT 1 - 2 – Animal AgTech Innovation Summit Europe, Amsterdam, Netherlands www.
OCT 19 - 21 – Leman China Swine Conference, Zhengzhou, China www. china-swine-conference
NOV 13 - 15 –2019 Pig Welfare Symposium, Minneapolis, US www.pork. org/events/pig-welfare-symposium
NOV 17 - 20 – Australasian Pig Science Association Conference, Adelaide, SA
NOV 27 - 29 – Fatty Pig Conference, Okinawa Prefecture Gender Equality Centre, Okinawa, Japan www. conference-2087
DEC 10 - 11 – The Pork Show, Quebec City, Canada
JAN 7-9 – Banff Pork Seminar, Banff, Canada
How to supply event details: Send all details to Australian Pork Newspaper, PO Box 387, Cleveland, Qld 4163, call 07 3286 1833 fax: 07 3821 2637, email:
07 3286 1833
© Collins Media Pty Ltd – Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. It is the responsibility of advertisers to ensure the correctness of their claims and statements. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher.
Page 2 – Australian Pork Newspaper, September 2019

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