Antibiotic use in pork production is a hot topic worldwide, and five cooperative growers for Danish Crown will be participating in an antibiotic-free hog production trial. Denmark already has one of the lowest levels of antibiotic use in pig production in the world.
Jesper Friis, CEO of Danish Crown Pork said the company is using the trial, set to begin Dec. 1, to increase the company’s knowledge of what it takes to produce pigs for slaughter without using any antibiotics. 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 and other experts. The monitoring aims to ensure that animal welfare is not compromised by the trial and that any sick animals receive treatment. At the same time, it will ensure that any animals which have been treated with antibiotics are removed from deliveries of antibiotic-free animals to the slaughterhouse.
The production of 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. Therefore, Danish Crown will also use the trial to determine whether there is a market for the products, since these products will cost more in the shops to cover the additional costs for farmers.
At present, it is a documented fact that the meat sold to consumers contains no drug residues. The withdrawal period for animals for slaughter to which medicines have been administered is defined scientifically depending on the specific medicines used.