Gwyn Jones, Chair of RUMA
The Targets Task Force was first conceived in Spring 2016 as the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance prepared to respond to the final report in Lord O’Neill’s seminal AMR Review1
By the time the Government response to the AMR Review was published in September 20162 , the concept of the Targets Task Force had gathered momentum as it would be ideally positioned to deliver on the key Government objective of a set of industry-developed, sector-specific targets by the end of 2017.
The Task Force first convened in December 2016 and comprised a specialist veterinary surgeon and leading farmer for each of the sectors covering beef, dairy, laying hens, fish, gamebirds, pigs, poultry meat and sheep. This facilitated session laid out the challenge and the timetable. Both the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and Food Standards Agency (FSA) observed, and agreed to provide input on data gathering and methodology. The group then met bi-monthly, going back to sector leaders each
time to consult and develop plans.
The results of this hard work were captured in the Targets Task Force report3 , published in October 2017. The chapters for each sector in the report, while sharing some standard headings, are very different. Similarly, the structures, content and lengths vary, with distinctions in the way the targets are expressed. This reflects not only the very different nature and challenge of each part of the industry but also the way in which the reports were conceived and are now owned and delivered by their respective sectors.
This ‘One Year On’ review reflects these differences, so this report should be read alongside the original Targets Task Force report for full context. However, the targets contained in the original report have also been included throughout this report, in brief, for reference.
It should be noted that 2017 sales and usage data are the latest available for many species, with the exception of gamebirds, for which 2018 data have now been collected and included here. Please also be aware that ‘mg/kg’ units of measurement have been used in this report, but should be assumed to be equivalent to mg/PCU, where a standardised Population Correction Unit (PCU) has been calculated for that species. This is in line with changes to how the VMD reported its annual Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS)4 figures for 2017. More information on the PCU calculation and standardised weights at time of treatment is available by going to www.gov.uk and searching ‘PCU’5.
Finally, the work of the Targets Task Force was officially recognised when the group won the highly competitive ‘Prescribing and Stewardship’ category at the Public Health England-endorsed Antibiotic Guardian Awards 2018, beating a number of healthcare organisations and NHS Trusts. This rightly reflects the incredible achievements of this group in driving grassroots action on antibiotics in farming.