Antibiotics use in the intensive livestock industry in the Netherlands have come down in 2009 – in comparison to 2008. It is, however, still higher than in 2007.
These figures were made public recently by the Agricultural Economic Institute (LEI), part of Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands.
The LEI calculated the number of daily dosages of antibiotics on animal farms on the basis of samples and sales figures of FIDIN, the organisation representing the Dutch animal health industry.
Broilers, finisher pigs
These figures show that antibiotic use in broilers and finisher pigs has come down slightly over 2009, after a rapid increase in the previous years. Antibiotic use in sows and piglets, however, has increased after a small decrease in the years prior to that. In dairy cattle, antibiotic use decreased for the first time.
All in all, 2% less antibiotics were sold than in 2008.
The reduction is too small to achieve the Dutch authorities’ target to meet 50% reduction by 2011. Optimists refer to the best achieving farms using up to 90% less antibiotics.
For the whole of the EU, it was decided that per January 1, 2007, antibiotics were no longer allowed as growth promoters. The role of antibiotics in animal production has ever since been a topic of scientific debate.