Denmark has one of the lowest levels of antibiotics use in pig production in the world. However, it is an issue that is receiving considerable attention. Danish Crown would like to contribute to finding sustainable solutions for Danish pig production with its cooperative owners.
“Inspired by the public debate, we are setting up a trial together with a handful of pig producers, the purpose being to increase our knowledge of what it takes to produce pigs for slaughter without using any antibiotics,” said Jesper Friis. CEO of DC Pork.
Five pig producers on the island of Bornholm will be trialing producing pigs for slaughter without the use of any antibiotics starting Dec. 1. The trial will involve one integrated production unit and a number of farms producing pigs for slaughter.
Danish Crown’s Advisory Service team will monitor the herds with local consultants, the Danish Pig Research Centre (VSP) and other relevant experts. The monitoring intends to ensure that animal welfare is not compromised by the trial and that any sick animals receive treatment. Simultaneously, it will ensure that any animals that have been treated with antibiotics are removed from deliveries of antibiotics-free animals to the slaughterhouse.
“On the farms producing pigs for slaughter, we will find out whether it is possible to produce pigs for slaughter – from when they are delivered to the farm as weaners until they are sent for slaughter – without using any antibiotics, and in the integrated production we will establish whether it is possible to produce pigs from birth until slaughter without using antibiotics,” Friis said.
Producing pigs for slaughter without the use of any antibiotics will entail additional costs for farmers. More inspections, increased staffing levels and improved hygiene efforts will increase labor costs. As a result, Danish Crown will also use the trial to determine whether there is a market for the products. These products will cost more in the shops to cover the additional costs for farmers.