Farm vets have been asked to help dairy, beef and sheep producers register their businesses on the AHDB-backed “Medicine Hub” to ensure the industry can demonstrate its use of antibiotics.
The call to action was made by the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) which is promoting the Hub as it can show the industry’s relatively low use of antibiotics.
According to the European Medicines Agency, UK farms have among the lowest use of these medicines in Europe, but while the pig, poultry and aquaculture sectors capture data for over 90% of production, dairy, beef and sheep producers have been slower in providing evidence of responsible use.
The BVCA say if vets help farm clients register it will be an important first step towards showing the success of a range of antibiotic stewardship activities over the past five years.
BVCA board member and vet, Rachel Hayton says it will take time for the Hub to fully evolve, but the information it will eventually provide will be invaluable.
“We need to consider UK producers’ reputation and accountability, and meet new national antibiotic use targets agreed by vets and producers through the RUMA Targets Task Force in November 2026,” she said.
“We know both vets and farmers have been committed to raising the bar on responsible use of antibiotics – we want them to be able to prove this.”
She added that in addition to meeting targets, UK farmers and vets need to consider EU rule changes, with member countries having to provide information on antibiotic use in cattle from 2023 and sheep from 2026.
“This will apply to Northern Ireland directly, but the other three nations indirectly too as they seek trade deals with the EU,” she said.
“Vets, as the prescribers and gatekeepers of antibiotics, have a huge role to play in this, which is why we’re asking cattle vets to step up now and be part of developing this hugely exciting platform. Knowing the whole industry is behind this should give vets and farmers alike a huge boost.”
Some producer groups and vets in the dairy sector are already collating and comparing data, and the BCVA aims to be able to incorporate the information into the Hub, although this will be subject to permission.
Eventually the Medicine Hub is expected to be able to offer anyone with antibiotic data the opportunity to benchmark their records against the national dataset.