More antibiotic use in Dutch poultry industry

Antibiotic use in the Dutch pig and poultry industry has risen 9% in 2007 in comparison to 2006, Dutch agricultural newspaper Agrarisch Dagblad reports.

Research by the Dutch agricultural economic institute (LEI), part of Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), revealed that growth appeared in the broiler industry as well as the finishing pig industry.


LEI based its opinion on figures from the Dutch organsation of manufacturers and importers of animal health products (Fidin). The research showed that in the period 2004-2007, the usage in finisher pigs increased by 3.5 daily dosages a year. The type of antibiotics changed as well – less tetracyclines and more colistinephosphates and macrolides. In the broiler industry, the daily use increased by 13.8 daily dosages per animal year.


First reactions express concern about the figures. "These figures are an indication, but they do most certainly not fully represent the actual situation," said chairman Wyno Zwanenburg, Dutch Union of Pig Producers."The research has been carried out at 52 finisher and 42 breeding farms. That is rather limited. We know large differences exist between farms."

Annechien ten Have, pig spokesperson of the Dutch agri- and horticultural organisation (LTO) emphasises the necessity to have a masterplan to contain antibiotic use. "These figures show the trend for 2008 as well. I expect to see the first results in 2010."

"Apart from a representative measurement, we would also like to know why antibiotics have been used, so we can fight its use," said Jan Wolleswinkel, poultry spokesperson.

Parliamentary questions

Even in Dutch parliament, questions were asked about the latest figures. The use of antibiotics in livestock has to come down quickly and a structural change is necessary, Dutch agricultural minister Gerda Verburg said.

A recently agreed covenant regarding antibiotics resistance is a first good step, said Verburg. "However, it is not sufficient. The increase is still going vertically up."

Several political parties used the figures to launch a new plea for the return of meat and bone meal in pig and poultry feed. Its absence would be one of the causes why livestock seem to show less resistance – and whould reduce the dependance on antibiotics. This, however, would require a European approach, the minister replied.

Antibiotic growth is also reported to have grown in Denmark and Germany.

Related links:

Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR)

Dutch agricultural and economic institute (LEI)

Dutch organisation for manufacturers and importers of animal health products (Fidin)

Dutch union for pig producers (NVV)

Dutch agri- and horticultural organisation (LTO)

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