Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, has today launched a new plan to address the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals and the environment in Wales.
It comes as the rise and spread of AMR poses a serious threat to the ability to control infections in healthcare settings, in the wider community and in animals.
The plan sets out how we will prevent and control infectious diseases in animals, through good management and animal health planning, to reduce the need to use antibiotics for treatment. It addresses the need to ensure antibiotics are prescribed, supplied and used responsibly in Wales.
The plan includes the need to limit the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment, to and from animals and people, and the food they eat and the spaces they share.
The plan is Wales’ contribution to the UK Five Year National Action Plan, which was published in January 2019.
The AMR Delivery Group will have responsibility for overseeing the 5 year plan, working closely with medical and public health professionals in Wales to ensure the fully, joined-up collaborative ‘One Health’ approach is adopted.
The five key aims of the plan are to:
- Significantly reduce the need to use antibiotics in farmed animals by raising the health status of herds and flocks, applying the principle of “prevention better than cure” through animal health planning.
- Collect/measure farm-level, species-specific antibiotic usage information for each major farmed animal species in Wales
- Improve standards of antibiotic stewardship, through training, benchmarking and provision of guidance and setting of standards for both prescribing and supply.
- Better understand the role of the environment in the development and spread of AMR. In particular, to monitor antibiotics and their residues in the environment, particularly water sources.
- Promote responsible use of antibiotics in companion animals through working closely with small animal vets and with others to inform owners and keepers.
Lesley 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.”
The 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.”
The Welsh Government is hosting an AMR in animals and the environment event at the Royal Welsh Show (Wednesday 24 July 12:30 to 14:00 at the WG Pavilion). Spaces are available, but are limited. If people would like to book a space at this event then they can email OCVO@gov.wales – it’ll be on a ‘first come first served’ basis.
The plan is available at: https://gov.wales/antimicrobial-resistance-animals-and-environment-implementation-plan