Dan Jørgensen, the food minister, has announced a number of measures relating to the health and well-being of the country’s pig population. The use of antibiotics by pig farmers should fall by 15 percent by 2018 and the mortality rate of piglets and the problem of sows with shoulder sores will be tackled with more animal welfare inspections.
The anitbiotics target came following an agreement between the government and opposition parties and is intended to reduce antibiotic resistance.
“Antibiotic resistance is a big health problem,” Jørgensen said.
“Therefore I’m especially satisfied that there is broad agreement on a significant reduction in use so that in the period from 2009 to 2018 we will achieve a combined reduction of 30 percent.”
Welfare needs a boost
The welfare measures are part of an action plan for better conditions for Danish pigs, which was launched last year.
“Animal welfare in the pigsties needs a significant boost,” Jørgensen said.
“Therefore we are upping the monitoring of pig sties with two targeted inspection campaigns that will give sows and piglets a thorough welfare check.”
Jørgensen emphasised the importance of the early days for piglets. “The very first week alive is decisive for a piglet’s survival chances,” he said.
“It is both concerning of animal welfare considerations and economically inappropriate that thousands of piglets end up as rubbish in a container instead of growing and ending up on the dinner table.”