THE critical work of Welsh vets and farmers to help combat antimicrobial resistance in animals and the environment has been recognised with a new set of awards.
The awards were made by pioneering programme, Arwain DGC Defnydd Gwrthficrobaidd Cyfrifol / Responsible Antimicrobial Use) which
works to help vets, farmers and horse owners to address the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by reducing the need to use antibiotics – through training, applying new technology, data gathering, and improving understanding.
Arwain DGC works in partnership with key *Welsh agricultural stakeholders, vets, and academic institutions, to encourage and demonstrate ways to reduce the need to use antibiotics and the risk of AMR developing.
Presented by Richard Irvine, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, the awards celebrate the achievements of livestock vets, equine vets, and livestock farmers in raising awareness of reducing the need to use antibiotics and taking steps to achieve a reduction.
Dr Irvine paid tribute to the work being done across Wales to meet the challenges of AMR and reduce the need to use antibiotics.
He said: “A big congratulations to all of the winners and nominees of these awards. Farmers and vets have an important responsibility to ensure antibiotics are used appropriately and to combat antimicrobial resistance. I am very pleased to see and hear about the good work taking place across Wales in doing this.
“We know there are further challenges, but we continue to make strong progress, and by carrying on working together we can reach our goals.
“So thank you to the teams of people, be that in veterinary practices, universities, farms and stables, wherever you are working, your efforts and dedication are hugely appreciated.”
The winners were:
Equine Vet – Samantha Downes, Downes Veterinary Services, Aberystwyth.
Samantha’s nomination included a testimonial from an equine client who said, “I had a horse with a strange abscess last year, and Sam suggested swabs instead of the usual antibiotics. Two days later, we found out my horse was in foal. If we had gone ahead with the antibiotics and not the swab as Sam suggested, I’m not sure my beautiful filly would still be here.”
Livestock Vet – Guy Tomlinson, Daleside Vets, Wrexham.
Guy was nominated for his work with dairy farming clients to create herd health plans and helping them reduce the need to use antibiotics and meet the requirements of milk processor agreements.
Among his testimonials said, “Guy was very proactive in using Farming Connect health funds and recently Arwain DGC to facilitate testing and teaching work here. Guy has encouraged us to reduce antibiotics in many ways, including vaccinating specific viruses (after sampling) that were causing pneumonia in young cattle while also helping to build confidence in us while using selective alternative dry cattle treatments (SDCT). We are definitely much more careful as a farm and now target ailments with antibiotics instead of turning to them as a cure-all.”
Farmer – Darrell Hopkins, Ystalyfera, Neath Port Talbot
Darrell, who farms in the Upper Swansea Valley, was nominated for his work to reduce the amount of antibiotics required for his flock.
His nomination citation from Prostock Vets said, “The implementation of footvax protocols massively reduced antibiotic use in the sheep flock. Along with this, targeting lambing shed hygiene and ewe management has reduced antibiotic use in neonatal lambs to virtually zero.”
Farmer – T.D & N Roberts, Bodorgan, Ynys Môn
The family were nominated by Wern Vets for their pioneering work to reduce mastitis in their dairy herd.
The nomination said the farm was “at the forefront of being responsible and reducing antibiotic use.” This, they said, was achieved by “Having spent on Mastatest technology (a diagnostic tool for bovine mastitis), the first in Britain to do this, this has helped to halve their use of antibiotics by using this technology to know which antibiotic if any is needed, as well as to work very closely with their vet to get better year by year.”
Arwain DGC programme manager, Dewi Hughes, said, “We have had the privilege of working with enthusiastic, innovative and inspiring vets, farmer and horse owners through Arwain DGC work, and we are so pleased to give recognision to some of them.
Based on the exeptionally high standard of nominations for these awards, many deserve recognition for leading changes on their farms or in their practice and in demonstrating excellence in antimicrobial stewardship, and we very much look forwards to continue working with them.”