The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture alliance (RUMA), a consortium of organisations representing the food chain “farm to fork”, has updated its poultry guidelines for farmers.

For the first time the guidelines, which outline what RUMA considers responsible practice for medicating poultry, are aimed at game producers as well as conventional poultry farmers.

In its third edition, a shorter version is aimed at providing “quick and easy guiding principles” to farmers has been released. A longer version geared at veterinarians and advisers will be launched later this year.

The guidelines are now significantly longer, and the “four golden rules of disease control” given increased attention: utilising biosecurity, avoiding stress, good hygiene and good nutrition.

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John Fitzgerald, RUMA secretary general, said: “The holistic approach to minimising disease set out by the ‘four golden rules’ helps reduce the need to use antimicrobials, including antibiotics, without adversely affecting animal welfare.

“It is important to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance without reducing the availability of necessary antibiotics.”

The updated text can be downloaded at RUMA’s website