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October 2020

Welcome to our Autumn newsletter

Covid-19 may be calling a halt to our events and conferences, but it’s certainly doing nothing to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance in industrial farming. The cramped conditions livestock experience on factory farms are in stark contrast to our own more socially distanced lives. At Alliance HQ we have strong hopes that this new public understanding of the spread of infectious diseases, and the consequences of close contact, will promote a new level of understanding of, and concern for, how the vast majority of livestock is farmed.

Coming up, on the 13 October you have the opportunity to hear Coilin Nunan, Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics Scientific Advisor, discussing priorities for the National Food Strategy with an expert panel on a webinar co-hosted by the Soil Association and the Faculty of Public Health.

With Antibiotics Awareness week on the horizon (18-22 November) we are gearing up for our busiest part of the year. For the first time we will be assessing the publicly available antibiotic policies of the top 20 fast casual dining restaurant chains in the UK. The assessment of these major high street brands is already underway and will be released in a report to be published later this year. Our annual supermarket assessment will follow, as will the Alliance’s first ever assessment of the antibiotic standards of the major service sector catering companies operating in the UK. Keep your eyes peeled on our website for more details.

Lastly, I’d like to personally welcome our newest Alliance member: World Animal Protection.  World Animal Protection has campaigned to protect animals for the last 50 years, and works to give animals a better life. Its activities include working with companies to ensure high standards of welfare for the animals in their care, working with governments and other stakeholders to prevent wild animals being cruelly traded, trapped or killed, and saving the lives of animals and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them in disaster situations.

Suzi Shingler,
Campaign Manager, Alliance to Save our Antibiotics

Alliance News

Report on US farm antibiotic use
Read our most recent report comparing US farm antibiotic use with use in the UK and the EU.
We uncover that antibiotic use on US farms is more than five times higher than on UK farms.
When we unpack this further we can see that US chicken and pork is reared using twice as many antibiotics as UK chicken and pork, and US cattle and turkey is dosed with 8-9 times the amount of antibiotics as their UK counterparts.
Briefing on new EU legislation
On the 21 January 2022, new EU legislation will prohibit all forms of routine antibiotic use in farming, including preventative group treatments. Following shortly after, Zinc oxide will be banned for medicinal use in the European Union, and the UK on 26 June 2022.
Read our new briefing on the 2022 changes to EU law on farm antibiotic use, including a narrative on the UK government’s reluctance to commit to the same level of regulation.
In case you missed it – news from elsewhere
  • Support Sustain's Agricultural trade Bill Action Sign the Sustain petition to tell your MP to save UK food standards by putting them in the Agriculture Bill. We need imported foods to meet UK food, animal welfare and environmental standards - this film shows what's at stake. Sustain wants MPs to hear from you as the Agricultural Bill goes to the Commons and as the Trade Bill is finalised. Otherwise these critical changes may be voted out.
  • Call for appointment of antibiotic-resistance and pandemic-preparedness Minister The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on antibiotics recently wrote a letter to the Prime Minister requesting a meeting to discuss the possibility of appointing a UK Government Minister with a portfolio to address, specifically, drug-resistant infection and pandemic prevention and preparedness. 
  • Later weaning of piglets improves welfare and reduces antibiotic use According to an article published by the industry publication Pig Progress, delaying weaning of piglets leads to less stressed and more resilient piglets. Older piglets are less prone to diarrhoea when weaned and so need fewer antibiotics. They also show less unwanted behaviours such as tail biting. 
  • No overall reduction in antibiotic use in British pigs in 2019 Antibiotic-use data from the pig industry was released in June this year and shows no fall in overall use in 2019 compared with 2018, although a one third reduction in the use of the highest-priority critically important antibiotics was achieved. Antibiotic use in the pig industry is down by approximately 60% on 2015 but a significant spike in cases of swine dysentery meant that no further reduction could be achieved in 2019. Use remains more than twice as high per pig as usage in Denmark and the Netherlands, and about nine times higher than in Sweden, although it is  less than half of US use. This data highlights the continuing need for significant husbandry and pig-health improvements.
  • UNEP calls for food systems to be radically transformed to prevent pandemics In July the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report, “Preventing the next pandemic: zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission”, linking the intensification of livestock agriculture with the emergence of new zoonotic diseases. The report identifies seven major anthropogenic drivers of the emergence of new zoonotic diseases including unsustainable intensification of agriculture, increasing demand for animal protein, land use change and climate change.  UNEP calls for radical transformation of food systems including investment in agroecological farming methods.
  • Agrichemicals and antibiotics in combination increase antibiotic resistance evolution There is increasing evidence that agrichemicals and antibiotics in combination increase antibiotic resistance. This research article from PeerJ finds that the use of certain herbicides such as Roundup (glyphosate) in combination with antibiotics can select for antibiotic resistance faster than the use of antibiotics alone. This has significant consequences for global farming and agricultural practices.
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The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is an alliance of health, medical, civil society and animal welfare groups campaigning to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded by Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain in 2009. Our vision is a world in which human and animal health and well-being are protected by food and farming systems that do not rely on routine antibiotic use.
@ASOAntibiotics @ASOAntibiotics
Copyright © 2020 | Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics| All rights reserved.
|April 2020 Newsletter|

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