Scottish sheep farmers asked to help with antibiotics survey

Scottish farmers and vets are being asked to take part in a survey that aims to establish the amount of antibiotics used in the sheep industry in Scotland.

Last year, the Sheep Health and Welfare Group developed a set of metrics that could be used to benchmark farms and provide a national reporting figure on antimicrobials use. 

The survey has been developed by researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to inform discussions, both at industry and national level, about the adoption and development of these metrics in Scotland.

See also: 7 ways a sheep farmer has cut antibiotics use

Initially, it will investigate how feasible and practical it would be for sheep farmers and their vets to provide these core metrics.

Hannah Bishop, of SRUC’s Epidemiology Research Unit, said: “Although we know that overall antibiotics use in the British sheep industry is not high, little is known about the exact quantities of antibiotics used in sheep flocks. 

“This makes it difficult for the sheep industry to demonstrate that use within the sector is low and to support claims that antibiotics are being used responsibly in sheep. This is becoming increasingly important, both to facilitate trade and to meet statutory reporting requirements at a national level.”

The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. A separate survey is being sent to large animal veterinary practices across Scotland.

The project has been funded by the Scottish government’s Strategic Research Programme 2016-2021, delivered through Sefari.

Complete the Antibiotic Usage in Sheep: Survey of sheep flock owners survey.