Antimicrobrial Resistance in Animals

The SNP Scottish Government has signed up for the UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-18, developed in collaboration with public health and veterinary authorities across all UK administrations. The strategy has seven key areas for future action to reduce the selective pressure for resistance from the use of antimicrobials in livestock and companion animals and focuses on both human and animal health. Scottish Government officials participate in a number of working groups and committees established to implement the strategy. For example, the Scottish Government is implementing a plan to eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea that has already halved the prevalence of this disease in Scottish cattle, and thus reduced the need for antibiotics.

I was pleased to note developments in the European Parliament, and that the new proposed frameworks set out additional controls on antibiotics. This includes a ban on the routine preventative use of antibiotics, including those classified as critically important. I am conscious, however, that negotiations on the frameworks are expected to continue until late 2017. I am also aware from the UK Government’s response to questions on this matter in Parliament that they are also supportive of the EU’s action on this issue.