Denmark plans to halve antibiotic use in pigs

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

It is understood that many veterinarians believe tetracycline could be replaced with Tiamulin
It is understood that many veterinarians believe tetracycline could be replaced with Tiamulin

Related tags Antibiotic resistance Livestock Pork

The Danish Pig Research Centre is looking to halve the use of antibiotic tetracycline in pigs by the end of 2015, through a new action plan.

Announced at the recent Herning Congress in Denmark, the Centre is also looking to modify the current Yellow Card scheme, in collaboration with Den Danske Dyrlægeforening (the Danish Veterinary Association), to focus on the use of antibiotics in livestock, that are not used in human medicine.

The move to reduce the usage of tetracycline comes after concerns by the medical profession that its use may increase resistance prevalence in general.

Claus Fertin, director of the Danish Pig Research Centre, said: "As pig producers account for a large proportion of antibiotic consumption in Denmark, it is quite natural that we should also take responsibility for the future.

"We are seeing how resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, are spreading in the human population, making the treatment of infections more difficult. It is, therefore, important that we take precautionary steps to pre-empt some of the potential risks of resistance spreading in the future. With this voluntary step, we are endeavouring to help ensure the availability of critical antibiotics in the future."

According to the Centre, it is the general view of veterinary experts that tetracycline can be replaced with Tiamulin, which is not used in the treatment of humans.

Fertin added: "I would urge our Food Minister to seek to persuade other countries to reduce their use of tetracycline and other agents that are important in the treatment of humans. Denmark is not a desert island. The challenges posed by the spread of antibiotic resistance must be solved internationally."

Danish pig producers have already reduced consumption of antibiotics by 13% between 2009 and 2013.

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