In 2017, the total antimicrobial consumption (in kilos) in Danish animals was approximately 3% (3.4 tonnes) lower than in 2016, which is in line with the trend seen in the previous three years. Overall, the veterinary antimicrobial use has decreased approximately 14% from 2013 to 2017, which is equivalent to a reduction of more than 16 tonnes of antimicrobials.
Lower consumption in pig production
The decrease in the total use of antimicrobials is primarily due to Danish pigs receiving 4% less antimicrobials in 2017 than the year before, when measured in doses and adjusted for the number of pigs produced per year. Behind the overall reduction is a decrease of 5-6% in the use in sows, piglets and finishers, and an increase of about 1% in weaners.
Pig production in Denmark constitutes approximately 85% of the country’s meat production and around 74% of the total veterinary-prescribed antimicrobials in Denmark are used in pigs.
Differentiated yellow card scheme has significant effect
Since 2010, Denmark has had a ‘Yellow Card’ scheme. Under the scheme, pig farmers who exceed the consumption thresholds set by the authorities, receive a yellow card and an order to reduce use of antimicrobials in the herd. From 2016, the use of tetracycline and antimicrobials that are critically important in the treatment of disease in humans count significantly more in a herd’s antimicrobial account.
Under the new rules, the use of tetracyclines is multiplied by 1.5. Consequently, the use of tetracyclines has decreased by a third (from 22,453 kilo in 2016 to 15,212 kilo in 2017). Colistin use is multiplied by 10, which has resulted in an almost zero use of colistins in pig herds after the first quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, there have been smaller increases in the use of other types of antimicrobials.
"The effect of the adjusted Yellow Card scheme is clearly reflected in the consumption statistics. The change has led to a general reduction in consumption and to a shift away from the use of the types of antimicrobials, which the Yellow Card scheme is focused on reducing," Birgitte Borck Høg says.
Tuesday October 2, 2018/ DANMAP/ Denmark.