Warning over antibiotics for lambs

The plea comes ahead of lambing.

Farmers and crofters are being urged to avoid blanket treatment with antibiotics at lambing time.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has teamed up with the Sheep Veterinary Society and the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance to remind industry that only lambs in need of intervention should be treated with antibiotics.

“British sheep farmers pride themselves on high health and welfare standards in their flocks, and so it is essential that certain ewes and lambs are treated with antibiotics at lambing time. Not doing so could lead to unnecessary suffering and losses,” said NSA chief executive Phil Stocker.

“However, to preserve the efficacy of medicines in the long term, the historical approach taken on some farms of blanket treating all lambs is not appropriate.”

Leicestershire sheep farmer Charles Sercombe, who is also chairman of the Sheep Health and Welfare Group, said: “While the sheep sector may present one of the lowest risks and be one of the lowest users of antibiotics, there are steps we can all take without any negative effect on health or performance, but helping to protect the efficacy of antibiotics for the future.”