Responsible use of medicines in livestock

Farmers and stock keepers play a major role in ensuring that medicines are used responsibly. Read our advice and information to help you use medicines responsibly.

What steps can I take towards responsible medicine use?

Medicine records

Information on all medicines in use should be readily available to stock keepers and kept on file. If in any doubt, seek advice from your veterinary surgeon or the product supplier. All involved with a treatment must make themselves aware of the medicine information relating to withdrawal periods, both for animals destined for slaughter and for those involved in producing milk for human consumption.


Everyone who administers medicines to animals should be trained in injection and drenching techniques. This could either be by attending a training course or asking the vet to demonstrate the right techniques. Training is also provided by NOAH Animal Medicines Best Practice training programme and MilkSure Training programme on the use of veterinary medicines.

Health and welfare

Staff working directly with animals should be trained to identify health problems early and in the use of veterinary medicines, to safeguard the health and welfare of animals on that farm.

When using medicines, always follow the guidance on the label and package insert, and check you are not allergic to the product ingredients.

Best-practice medicine use – the five Rs

Find out why the five Rs are critical to responsible medicine use on farm.

The five Rs of using medicines are:

  1. Right animal.
  2. Right medicine.
  3. Right route.
  4. Right dose.
  5. Right time.

Best-practice medicine use – the five Rs

Medicine administration

Injuries from incorrect medicine administration can cause pain and devalue the carcase, but are preventable. Read our tips on best practice for injections and drenching on farm.

Learn more about medicine administration

Recording medicine use

Find out the legal requirements for recording medicine use on farm.

Information on recording medicine use

Health planning

Find out more about health planning and how it helps achieve responsible medicine use on farm.

More on health planning


Vaccines are a key aspect of responsible medicine use. Our advice will help you understand vaccines and their use on farm.

Information on vaccines

Medicine use: Working with the professional experts

Find out more about how these professional experts work with medicine use.

Learn more about using your vet or registered animal medicine advisor

Useful links

Using medicines responsibly

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