Safe use of medicines campaign: Industry view

Key industry figures and organisations voice their support for Farmers Weekly‘s Making Sense of Medicines campaign

Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA)

RUMA is delighted to support Farmers Weekly’s campaign on the responsible use of medicine. The RUMA Alliance – representing organisations covering all interests from farm to fork – promotes a co-ordinated and integrated approach to responsible use of medicines on farm, because it benefits animals, farmers and consumers.

Responsible use means farms are managed so the risk of disease is minimised. RUMA guidelines give advice on how to use medicines responsibly at

Christianne Glossop, chief veterinary officer for Wales

Christianne Glossop

Congratulations to Farmers Weekly for taking the lead over this important matter. We must do everything possible to safeguard current and future treatment options for the protection of human and animal health, and not contribute to the problem.

Farmers and vets must collaborate, applying best practice in diagnosis and selection of treatments. This is essential if we are to retain access to an adequate range of antibiotics for veterinary use, promote animal health and welfare, and protect food supply. Recognising our own roles and responsibilities is an important first step.

The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH)

NOAH supports all efforts to encourage the responsible use of animal medicines, and welcomes this campaign by Farmers Weekly.

Using medicines responsibly requires a partnership between the manufacturer, prescriber, dispenser and farmer, where all parties work together to ensure animals are protected from disease and are treated where necessary, following prescriber instructions.

We need to ensure medicines are used correctly to prevent and slow resistance and protect the current generation of antibiotics and wormers.

Richard Lochhead, Scottish rural affairs secretary

Richard Lochhead

Modern medicine is incredibly useful and livestock producers need to ensure they are playing their part to ensure these vital products remain effective.

Antibiotics have revolutionised medicine for both animals and humans. But we are increasingly seeing strains of disease that are resistant and this highlights just how vital it is medicines are used responsibly.

This is a useful campaign to remind livestock keepers about using medicine only when required and as directed by their vet.

DairyCo and EBLEX

DairyCo and EBLEX are fully supportive of the Farmers Weekly Making Sense of Medicines campaign.

This campaign fits with many of our initiatives including the DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan and the Healthy Feet Programme, which aim to find root causes of mastitis and lameness so reducing the amount of antibiotics used.

EBLEX and DairyCo also support Control of Worms and parasites Sustainably (COWS) and the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) to provide technical information on the management of worms and fluke.

The National Farmers Union (NFU)

Veterinary medicines are a vital resource to the industry, and their effectiveness and efficacy must be protected.

The NFU encourages its members to use medicines as little as possible, but as much as necessary. Achieving this balance relies on skilled stockmen working with vets and advisers to provide the highest standards of animal care so medicines are used only when needed.

The NFU welcomes the Farmers Weekly campaign as it demonstrates a sense of shared responsibility and commitment to responsible use of vet medicines.

Pete Borriello, chief executive, Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)

The VMD fully supports the Farmers Weekly’s campaign as an important way of safeguarding animal health, public health and the environment. Vet medicines are necessary to ensure the health of food-producing animals, but it is essential they are used responsibly. Their use should not replace efforts to reduce the need for medicines such as good farm management, high standards of animal husbandry and biosecurity. Responsible use is vital in reducing the risk of resistance in animals.

The British Poultry Council (BPC)

BPC fully supports Farmers Weekly’s Making Sense of Medicines Campaign. As an active member of RUMA, the BPC is committed to the crucial need for a prudent and responsible use of antibiotics.

More than 18 months ago, BPC implemented an antibiotics stewardship programme focusing on infection risk assessment and prevention, education of poultry producers and data collection to give the industry and regulators a clearer picture of poultry usage trends.

Richard Young, policy advisor, Soil Association

The Soil Association supports the responsible use of veterinary medicines. It is vital to slow the rise of antibiotics and wormer resistance, as it could be a long time before new antibiotics and wormers are developed. We should use preventative management solutions wherever possible and medicines only when there is no alternative.

Peter Harlech Jones, president, British Veterinary Association (BVA)

Peter Harlech Jones

The BVA has long championed the responsible use of medicines and so we warmly welcome the Farmers Weekly campaign. Veterinary medicines such as antibiotics, vaccines and wormers are vital for the health and welfare of farmed animals, but we are at risk of losing them if they aren’t used responsibly and appropriately.

Inappropriate use can result in ineffective treatment, ongoing problems associated with ill-health and disease, the possibility of illegal residues and increased resistance.


The industry as a whole is well aware of its responsibilities in relation to antibiotics and BPEX is a member of the RUMA Alliance. Antibiotics are used to treat infectious diseases as part of responsible animal welfare as they are in people. The rule of thumb is to use as much as necessary but as little as possible.

Dairy UK

We have set up an antibiotics group, which examines the use of antibiotics and reviews best practice in antibiotics use and procedures for ensuring residues are kept out of milk. The group is reviewing the antibiotics tests used on milk, and the training given to farmers by vets to ensure they are used responsibly.

More on this topic

Visit our Making Sense of Medicines campaign page