THE use of antibiotics in livestock and pets is to be significantly reduced in Wales in an effort to tackle resistance to the drugs.

A new five-year plan is aimed to stamp out antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, in animals and the environment has been announced by the Welsh Government.

A growing resistance to antibiotics in both animals and humans could make it far more difficult to treat some conditions. But the new plan announced by environment, energy and rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths aims to "significantly" reduce the use of the drugs in livestock, by taking an approach aimed at preventing them from getting ill in the first place.

It is also intended to ensure antibiotics are only prescribed when the are needed, and to collect more data on the role of the environment in spreading AMR.


Ms Griffiths said: “The effects of AMR can be hugely disruptive and costly, not just to animal keepers and veterinarians, but the wider community too.

"I am committed to Wales playing its part in ensuring the efficacy of antibiotics both here and throughout the world.

“Controlling the risk of AMR is not solely for government.

"It needs a collaborative approach between different agencies.

"All those who keep or care for animals and manage our environment must play their part.

“Maintaining high standards of animal health, and adoption of the principle of prevention being better than cure are key to the plan which will play an important role in our commitment to protect the health and welfare of future generations, who are dependent on health services that can effectively combat infections.”

And chief veterinary officer for Wales Dr Christianne Glossop said: “Antibiotics are a precious resource and we must use them wisely and carefully to keep them effective for future generations.

"The risk of resistance developing is real, and the consequences potentially catastrophic for human and animal health. We in Wales will play our part to combat this global threat.

“Our Wales AMR Implementation Plan sets out how we will work together to keep animals healthy so that the need for antibiotic treatments is minimised. This is an important challenge and opportunity for vets and animal keepers in Wales and I look forward to working with them to deliver this important programme of work.”

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