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18 % reduction in antibiotic consumption since 2014

Antibiotic consumption for Danish pigs is declining year by year. Moreover, the Danish pig sector is firmly focused on increasing health standards in housing units and the continued reduction in medicine consumption. Measured by doses of antibiotics for the production of one pig from birth to slaughter, consumption in 2018 fell by 18 % compared to 2014.

Danish pig production is intent on reducing the consumption of antibiotics and in addition to the day-to-day work in housing units, pig producers are investing their own capital in joint research and development to increase health standards and reduce medicine consumption further. As a result, consumption is declining year by year.

Read also: International research centre for antimicrobial resistance to be established in Denmark

Calculated as the total kilogram consumption in pig production as a whole, antibiotic consumption in 2018 declined by 13 % compared to 2014. But measured by dose – which we believe is more accurate – consumption declined by 18 %.

How antibiotic consumption is calculated

In order to produce the most accurate description of antibiotic consumption, the development in production and the type of antibiotics used are taken into account.
This is done by calculating the number of doses used in the production of one pig from birth to slaughter.


One dose = The amount of antibiotics used to treat 1 kg of pig

The Danish authorities established VETSTAT, a central database, in which vets and pharmacists register all prescriptions of veterinary medicines issued to individual farmers. It enables a much more accurate picture of the overall use of veterinary medicines for different species of livestock, as well as an exact record of medicines used by individual farmers.

Antibiotic consumption is based on data from the VETSTAT database (see fact box) and is divided into antibiotics for sows and piglets, weaners and finishers. VETSTAT provides information about the amount of active antibiotic substance per millilitre or gram of product and the dosage for treating one kg of pig. This data was used to convert consumption to the consumption of active antibiotic substance and standard doses.

Read more: More Danish pigs to be produced without antibiotics

Consumption in grams and the number of doses per produced piglet, per produced weaner and per produced finisher are calculated as the total number of grams of antibiotics and the total number of doses divided by the number of pigs produced in the relevant category during the period. The total consumption for the production of one pig from birth to slaughter is calculated as the sum of consumption for the production of a piglet, a weaner and a finisher, both in terms of the number of grams and the number of doses.

Denmark’s low-level consumption is acknowledged internationally and most recently in a report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, which points to Denmark as a pioneer in the area.

Read more: Antibiotics: Danish pig production singled out as international role model

For more information, please contact Jan Dahl, Chief Adviser, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, jd@lf.dk