Understanding the culture of antimicrobial prescribing in agriculture: a qualitative study of UK pig veterinary surgeons

The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
L A CoyneG L Pinchbeck


The use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals has been linked with the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial populations, with consequences for animal and public health. This study explored the underpinning drivers, motivators and reasoning behind prescribing decisions made by veterinary surgeons working in the UK pig industry. A qualitative interview study was conducted with 21 veterinary surgeons purposively selected from all UK pig veterinary surgeons. Thematic analysis was used to analyse transcripts. Ensuring optimum pig health and welfare was described as a driver for antimicrobial use by many veterinary surgeons and was considered a professional and moral obligation. Veterinary surgeons also exhibited a strong sense of social responsibility over the need to ensure that antimicrobial use was responsible. A close relationship between management practices, health and economics was evident, with improvements in management commonly identified as being potential routes to reduce antimicrobial usage; however, these were not always considered economically viable. The relationship with clients was identified as being a source of professional stress for practitioners due to pressure from farmers requesting antim...Continue Reading


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