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NPA hits back at ‘misleading’ Guardian article on antibiotic usage

Screen Shot 2021-06-21 at 5.46.53 PM

Source: Alistair Driver, PigWorld, 17 June 2021, photo credit: MEDPAGE TODAY

The NPA has strongly criticised what it has branded a ‘misleading’ article in the Guardian regarding the pig sector’s antibiotic usage.

The Guardian article initially carried a headline claiming ‘UK pig farms doubled their use of antibiotics vital for humans’, even though it only refers to increased usage of one category of antibiotics.

After the NPA contacted the Guardian, the headline was amended, but the NPA still expressed major concerns with the article, which threatens to undermine the huge efforts the UK pig sector has made to responsibly reduce antibiotic usage over the past five years.

The Guardian article, in partnership with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, highlights AHDB data showing an increase in usage of one particular category of antibiotics, aminoglycosides, from 2.6mg/kg of body weight in 2015 to 5.9mg /kg in 2019. This class of drugs, which is used on pig farms to combat scour and other illnesses, includes gentamicin, which is used in humans to treat meningitis and infections of the blood and abdomen.
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