Bristol Vet School combatting antimicrobial resistance

Researchers from the Bristol Veterinary School at the University of Bristol are leading the way with farmers to combat and change antimicrobial use on farms. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global threat, with an estimated seven hundred thousand people dying from resistant infections every year.

Antimicrobial resistance is a crucial example of the importance of the One Health concept, which recognises that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment. People share many of the same health problems as animals, for example age-related diseases and infections, such as pneumonia.

The University of Bristol reports antimicrobial resistance research at the Bristol Vet School is led by the AMR Force and the group has inspired and enacted change in antimicrobial use on farms and in veterinary prescribing practice through collaboration and dialogue with suppliers, retailers, veterinarians, software development companies, government, livestock farmers and the livestock industries.

The work of the AMR Force has also resulted in sustained and productive interdisciplinary collaborations and engagement with farmers, veterinarians and other organisations that deliver products and services to market including retailers, suppliers, and farm assurance and industry to influence effective change in the use of antimicrobials in the livestock sector.

David Barrett, Professor of Bovine Medicine, Production and Reproduction at the University’s Vet School, said “The Vet School has been working hard to lower the use of critically important antimicrobials. While it is the responsibility of every vet, farmer and doctor to use antimicrobials responsibly it is also something that requires global leadership. We are all ready for the challenge, and if we all work together, we can succeed.”

Andrea Turner, Farm Animal Veterinary Surgeon at Langford Vets, said “It is important that farmers and veterinarians have access to antimicrobials when they are needed to treat animal disease. To protect the industry, the food chain and ultimately human health. However, these medicines should be used as little as possible, but as much as necessary.”

The AMR Force members have contributed to a number of initiatives including leading the British Cattle Veterinary Association and the British Veterinary Association Medicines Committees, developing a major retailer’s antimicrobial stewardship policy using participatory methods along with dairy farmers, training veterinarians and farmers across a number of veterinary practices on responsible antimicrobial use, and informing industry and legislative bodies including the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA).

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