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UK pig industry antibiotic usage drops for third year running

Industry leaders, including the Northern Ireland Pork and Bacon Forum (NIPBF), have welcomed latest figures indicating the pig industry has reduced antibiotic usage throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland by a further 16% in 2018 on the year before.

The industry target is to reach 99 mg/PCU by 2020.

According to the latest data taken from the electronic medicines book (eMB), which represents 89% of pigs slaughtered in the UK, antibiotic usage on pig farms dropped from 131 mg/PCU to 110 mg/PCU within 12 months.

Critically Important Antibiotics (CIAs) have also been reduced, falling to 0.06 mg/PCU of which, Colistin, represents only 0.004 mg/PCU.

“Three continuous years of the successful reduction of antibiotic usage is a tremendous achievement. We and our members are delighted with the results,” said Deirdre McIvor, chief executive of NI Pork and Bacon Forum. “There’s no doubt that it is the exceptional standards for quality from our producers here in Northern Ireland, and in Great Britain, that have led to where we are today.

“The NI Pork and Bacon Forum has been integral to this shared ambition since its very inception, and so to see a further 16% drop in 2018, since the year before, is representative of the quality and benefits of Assured Origin pork.”

Glen Cuddy, chairman of the Pork and Bacon Policy Committee, Ulster Farmers’ Union, said: “The latest reduction in antibiotic usage is a testament to the hard work of pig producers and vets, demonstrating their commitment to the fight against antibiotic resistance.

“The pig industry has set an ambitious target and time frame. While progress has been made, there is still work to be done. However, with 2020 fast approaching it is vital that pig producers and their vets work to ensure further reductions don’t negatively impact on animal welfare.”

For further information on NI Pork and Bacon Forum, visit

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