After several years of declining antibiotic use in the Danish swine industry, treating sick pigs with antibiotics increased 5.5 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.
"It is alarming that there are so marked an increase in antibiotic consumption for pigs,” emphasizes Denmark’s minister for food and agriculture," says Mette Gjerskov,Denmark’s minister for food and agriculture.
“Obviously sick animals are treated, but it is vital to keep the consumption of antibiotics as low as possible. Heavy consumption of antibiotics leads to more and more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. And it puts us in a situation where we have trouble treating sick people.” Up to 25,000 Europeans die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections, she added.
In fall 2012, the Danish government signed a veterinary agreement. Among other things it continued the national use of a yellow-card system, setting strict limits on the use of antibiotics to pigs. The agreement brings an action against inappropriate use of medication in groups of pigs, increased efforts against illegal imports of antibiotics and more research and monitoring of resistance.
Pork production in Denmark fell from 2,008,000 tons in 2011 to 1,916,400 tons in 2012. The decrease was mainly due to a rise in exports of Danish-born pigs for finishing and slaughter in other countries.