Responsible use of antibiotics in livestock

Read our advice on how to use antibiotics responsibly on farm. You’ll find information on understanding resistance, and strategies to prevent health issues.

Key priorities for responsible use of antibiotics

The use of antibiotics in livestock is regularly reviewed – please be aware that risk categorisation may change at any time. The key priorities for responsible use are:

  • To avoid the use of highest-priority critically important antibiotics (HP-CIAs), only using when no other antibiotic would be clinically effective
  • To avoid the routine use of preventative or prophylactic antibiotics

When to use antibiotics

Antibiotics can be very effective for certain treatments but are not always the answer. Find out when it is appropriate to administer antibiotics.

Find out when to use antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance

Find out more about how antibiotic resistance occurs, spreads, and continues to be a major global threat.

Learn more about antibiotic resistance

The golden rule for using antibiotics

The golden rule for using antibiotics and anthelmintics in all livestock is: as little as possible, but as much as necessary. Read our tips on preventing health issues without antibiotics.

More on the golden rule for using antibiotics

Useful links

Learn more about the sheep antimicrobial usage tool

Guidance for veterinary surgeons and farmers on responsible use of antibiotics in sheep

Find out more on the farm antibiotics website

See recommendations for measuring and comparing the use of antibiotics on beef farms

See our leaflet on antibiotic resistance: using antibiotics responsibly

Reducing antibiotic use with challenge sheep

Using medicines responsibly

If you would like to order a hard copy of Using medicines responsibly, please contact or call 0247 799 0069.