Up until recently, very little data was available on farm use of medically important antibiotics in different animal species in both the UK and the US. This was due to the fact that the regulatory bodies only collect data on the sales of veterinary antibiotic products from the pharmaceutical companies, and many of these products are licensed for use in more than one animal species. However, in the past three months, a large amount of new information on antibiotic use in different
livestock species has become available, although the data is still incomplete. This information has largely been published by the regulatory bodies, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in the UK and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US. In the UK, the information has been based on collections by the British Poultry Council and the
National Pig Association of actual usage data, and on a large survey of cattle farms. Very recently published information by some supermarkets supplements this data. In the US, the data has been based on pharmaceutical-industry estimates of the species breakdown of their sales, which they must now provide to the FDA. We have compiled this information to compare these estimates of antibiotic use in different livestock species in both the UK and the US. In order to make the data comparable, we have taken into account the size of the different livestock populations, and have used the European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) “Population Correction Unit” (PCU) as the livestock unit to do this.