Danish Pig Deaths Surging

The death rate in Danish pigs has surged 25% in the last decade to claim the lives of about seven million head/year.

Last year, 21.2% of pigs born in Denmark died, with more than half of them being piglets, says Hans Aarestrup Pedersen, a producer group leader. The death rate is difficult to understand given the fact that farming conditions are improving.

Danish producers have reportedly cut the amount of antibiotics fed to pigs in half since 1996, and speculation is that is one reason so many pigs are dying. Reports are this reduction in antibiotics has forced producers to kill pigs at the very first sign of disease.

Denmark produces about 23 million market hogs each year, exporting about 85% of its processed pork.