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2017 VARSS Report: demonstrating responsible antibiotic use, says NOAH

The significant reductions in antibiotic use reported in the Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) report for 2017 reflects the commitment of the veterinary and farming sectors to responsible prescribing and use, says NOAH. The Report, published by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), showed sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals dropped by 18% between 2016 and 2017 to reach a low of 37 mg/kg. Sales previously dropped by 40% between 2013 and 2017.

Dawn Howard, Chief Executive, NOAH said: “The 2017 VARSS Report again shows significant reductions in antibiotic use in pigs, poultry and other food producing animals.  UK vets and farmers are making every effort to prescribe and use antibiotics responsibly, which will help veterinary antibiotics to remain effective and available for use in the future.

“NOAH fully supports this: we must continue to ensure animal health and welfare are not compromised by working to promote measures to prevent disease, including encouraging uptake of vaccinations and other alternatives where they are available.”

NOAH has developed a three-step blueprint for animal health, which recognises that keeping animals healthy is our collective responsibility and aims to encourage the animal medicines industry, veterinary surgeons, farmers and pet owners to work together closely in order to:

  • STOP disease getting into the animal
  • EQUIP animals to fight disease if they do encounter it
  • TREAT animals appropriately when sickness is unavoidable

These three steps encompass the full spectrum of animal health, from reducing the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, taking preventative healthcare measures and prescribing appropriate treatments, including antibiotics, in case of illness.

She added: “We also support farmers and their veterinary surgeons through our Animal Medicines Best Practice (AMBP) training for farmers on antibiotic use.

“Working together, we will help preserve the health and welfare of our farmed animals, whilst using antibiotics responsibly, to the benefit of us all,” she said.


Notes for Editors

  1. For further information please contact Alison Glennon or Dawn Howard at NOAH 020 8367 3131 or email

  2. NOAH represents the UK animal health industry. It promotes the benefits of safe, effective, quality products and services for the health and welfare of all animals. For further information, please visit:

  3. The VARSS Report is available at

  4. NOAH’s Blueprint for Animal Health and Welfare is available at

  5. More details on the Animal Medicines Best Practice project farmer training are available at

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