The rules governing the authorisation and use of veterinary medicines are set at the European level through an EU Directive and these apply to all Member States. All antibiotic veterinary medicines in the UK are available only on prescription by a veterinary surgeon, who in turn is only permitted to prescribe to animals under their care.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), an executive agency of the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), published the ‘Code of Practice on the responsible use of animal medicines on the farm’ in December 2014. The guidance makes it clear that the Government does not support the routine preventative use of antibiotics, or the use of antibiotics to compensate for poor animal husbandry.
A number of UK veterinary and farming organisations have well established guidance on the prescription and use of veterinary medicines, including antibiotics.