NEW strategies in reducing the use of antibiotics in gamebird rearing are showing positive results, a veterinary consultant highlighted at Game 2018.
Mark Elliott, from South Downs Veterinary Consultancy, made the comments during his talk on antibiotics and gamebirds at an inaugural conference held by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).
Mr Elliott outlined how high standards in gamebird management, best practice in prescribing antibiotics, monitoring bird welfare, working with fellow veterinarians, game farmers and shoots have helped reduce reliance on antibiotics
So far, the work has seen a 36% reduction in antibiotics usage in gamebirds during 2017, with a 50% reduction the target by 2020. These statistics, in response to the worldwide concern about the increased resistance of many infections to antibiotics, were shared with more 100 farmers, landowners, gamekeepers and shoot managers at GWCT’s headquarters in Fordingbridge on April 11th.
Mr Elliott said: “Our case is helped by responsible use of medications, a commitment to transparency and monitoring, and education of all those involved in the industry.”
“Medication must not given in hope, it must be with expectation through understanding and correct diagnosis.”
He also touched on the future and what strategies could be implemented to further reduce the risk of disease such as flock health planning becoming essential and pheasant specific vaccines being developed.
Mr Elliott’s point on good practice in game management was reiterated in Mike Swan’s talk.
The Trust’s head of education spoke about the GWCT Shoot Biodiversity Assessment which, with many shoots facing increasing pressure to demonstrate sustainability and measurable biodiversity, offers assessments on best practice and biodiversity gain on shoots.
These were just a couple of many hot topics discussed on the day including the latest research on woodcock, game shoot economics, guidance on implementation of new trapping standards, game cover management to reduce problems with rouge millets and other problem weeds and latest advice on living with protected raptors.
Closing the conference Dr Roger Draycott, head of advisory at GWCT, said: “One of the best ways of promoting game management is being able to demonstrate the conservation benefits that can arise on a well-run shoot. Today has highlighted many of the key issues facing game shoots today and we hope everyone can take home something useful from the event.”
The event was kindly sponsored by Perdix Wildlife, Elanco and Keeper’s Choice.
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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