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Campaign and petition email responses | Statement on Superbugs Found in Rivers

Campaign and petition email responses

Statement on Superbugs Found in Rivers

Animals, like humans, are susceptible to infections by many different disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Antibiotics are vital in managing severe infections, maintaining herd health, and retaining economic viability for farmers.


The Veterinary Medicines Regulations set out the UK controls on veterinary medicines, including their manufacture, advertising, marketing, supply, and administration.


Regulations covering antibiotic use on farm animals were tightened across the European Union in February this year, but due to Brexit and the UK Government’s intention to deregulate – the UK has not followed suit.


The EU has also banned imports of meat, dairy, fish and eggs that have been produced using antibiotics to stimulate rapid growth in the animals.


The basic practices of biosecurity are routinely adopted as part of farm management to help reduce the burden of endemic disease in Scottish livestock. Biosecurity plans are part of any herd or flock health plan. Responsible use of antibiotics, when they are necessary, by everybody, will help to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.


Scotland’s agriculture sector has the highest standards in the world, yet these gains are sacrificed for trade deals with countries with low standards: total farm antibiotic use in both the United States and Canada is five times higher; 16 times higher in Australian poultry and triple what the UK would allow in Australian pigs.


The UK government has said that in 2022 it will be consulting on making changes to The Veterinary Medicines Regulations, including changes to the rules governing farm antibiotic use.


The Scottish Government seeks to work in cooperation with DEFRA and the UK Government on ensuring agriculture regulations within a reserved context retains high standards, Scotland’s food and drink continues to be successful and we collectively follow the science for what is best for animals and safe for human consumption.

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