To limit the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance, my Department employs a range of regulatory mechanisms aimed at curbing the excessive or inappropriate use of anti-microbial products in farming. These include residue monitoring and risk-based inspections and investigations.
Controls on the suppliers of anti-microbial products include risk based inspections and investigations. Possible sanctions for non-compliant suppliers and end-users range from forfeiture of the product, financial penalties, to prosecution through the courts and, in the case of professionals suspected of misconduct, possible referral to a professional body.
In some of these cases, the Investigations Division of DAFM carries out investigations with a view to prosecution through the courts. As the Division does not breakdown investigations and prosecutions below the category of veterinary medicines related cases, I cannot provide figures for veterinary antimicrobial products per se. I am, however, providing the Deputy with the number of Veterinary Medicines related investigations carried out in the years in question, by County, and the number of prosecutions which arose from those investigations.
These figures include a significant number of investigations and prosecutions relating to the misuse of veterinary medicines in the horse and greyhound sectors. The Deputy will note that a number of counties in Northern Ireland are included in the list, and while the Investigations Division does not carry out investigations in Northern Ireland, these addresses relate to the address of the individual or the entity under investigation. It is important to note when reviewing these figures that it can take some time for prosecutions to arise, following an investigation.