Antimicrobial growth promoters in food animal production

Abstract number: 1133_140

Wegener C.

Feeding antibiotics to animals in order to make them grow faster has been common practice in intensive agricultural production systems since the late fifties. In December 2002 the European Union member states banned the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters from January 2006. What lies behind this change in attitude? In 1997 the World Health Organization recommended; that the use of antibiotics for growth promotion should be terminated if they are also used for treatment in animals or humans, and furthermore, that the use of other classes of antimicrobials as growth promoters should be gradually phased out and substituted with safer non–antimicrobials alternatives. In April 1998, the Danish poultry, cattle and pig producers terminated the use of antimicrobials growth promoters. The DANMAP programme monitors the impact of the withdrawal of antimicrobial growth promoters on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial usage in Denmark. The total volume of active antimicrobials used for food animals is reduced by more than 50%. Resistance to the most commonly used AGP's tylosin, virginiamycin, avoparcin and avilamycin has declined significantly. In a number of European countries the occurrence of VRE in humans in the community has declined. The producers in Denmark were concerned about terminating the use of AGP's. We have analyzed the national poultry productivity data. Productivity were not affected by the termination, and mortality rates were likewise unaffected. Feed efficiency has changed slightly however, the savings on antibiotics for growth promotion offsets the extra cost of feed. In finishing pigs no or only a very limited effect of the withdrawal of AGP's has been observed, however in weaned pigs, some herds have experienced problems with post weaning diarrhoea. The overall productivity has been increasing after the termination.The prevalence of Salmonella in broiler flocks and chicken products as well as in swine herds and pork in Denmark has continued to decline after the withdrawal of the growth promoters. The European Union will terminate the continuous feeding of antimicrobials to healthy animals for growth promotion. Experiences from Denmark, as well as from other countries, such as Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, show that banning antimicrobial growth promoters has a minimal impact on agricultural productivity, but leads to major reductions in antimicrobial resistance.

Session Details

Date: 01/08/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: XXIst ISTH Congress
Location: Oxford, UK
Presentation type:
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