APPG for Antibiotics
Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR): Animal use and selection of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Lord Trees and I attended the All-party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics (APPG-A) discussion around the use of antimicrobials in animals. There were two speakers:
- Mr Peter Harlech-Jones BVSc MRCVS: Past-President of the British Veterinary Association.
- Mr Christopher Teale: AHVLA
Mr Harlech-Jones spoke about concerns around metaphylactic use of antimicrobials by vets and whether or not using antimicrobials in this way contributes to resistance in man. He re-iterated that in the RCVS code of conduct, which vets must abide by, it states that a veterinary surgeon who prescribes, supplies and administers medications must do so responsibly. He also made a strong case for better recording of antibiotic use (and adverse drug reaction data) and reporting in both humans and animals.
Mr Teale gave a broader overview of the problems raised by looming anti-microbial resistance and highlighted that some infections in man are unrelated to those in animals. He discussed swine dysentery and 5 untreatable incidences where farmers had to depopulate – sterilise – wait – and repopulate from a non-infected source. He also made clear that the situation in the UK will not be replicated in other countries and it was important for the UK to balance free trade with the risk of importing resistant infections.
Before the meeting was rather abruptly adjourned there were lots of questions to be asked. Unfortunately, due to a last minute change of room there was limited time for questions. There will be a recap session on Tuesday the 24th June with more opportunity for discussion.
Of the few questions that were asked, it seemed that squabbling between medical and veterinary professions about who uses antimicrobials most responsibly and who has evidence of a reduction in their use might not be the most productive way forward for this discussion. We shall look forward to further discussion on the 24th June.