Chapter 26 : Learning from Denmark

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Since the beginning of the new millennium, Denmark' s pig producers have entirely relinquished the use of antibiotics as growth promoters. The contributions made by medical applications and misapplications of antibiotics to the burgeoning global pool of drug resistance are probably far greater than those attributable to animal husbandry. The initiative of 2000 in Denmark was the latest of several steps taken voluntarily by that country’s pig and poultry farmers to curb the mass dissemination of antibiotics to promote growth. The removal of financial interest of veterinarians in what they prescribe, and in what quantities, has been a key policy limiting the use of antibiotics in Denmark. It is now over 49 years since the British bacteriologist E. S. Anderson, a pioneer of microbial drug resistance, called in for "a reexamination of the whole question of the use of antibiotics and other drugs in the rearing of livestock." His concern was based on meticulous research in which he traced the emergence of ampicillin-resistant serovar Typhimurium strains to the use of the agent to treat and/or prevent infections in calves. Given Denmark's preeminence as a bacon exporter, particularly within Europe, the new arrangements bring benefits for both public health and public relations.

Citation: Dixon B. 2009. Learning from Denmark, p 118-121. In Animalcules. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817442.ch26
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1. Anderson, E. S.,, and M. J. Lewis. 1965. Drug resistance and its transfer in Salmonella typhimurium. Nature 206: 579 583.
2. Robertson-Welsh, D.,, and V. Wheelock. 2000. Food Safety and Pig Production in Denmark. Verner Wheelock Associates, Skipton, United Kingdom.
3. Seppälä, H.,, T. Klaukka,, J. Vuopio-Varkila,, A. Muotiala,, H. Helenius,, K. Lager,, and P. Huovinen. 1997. The effect of changes in the consumption of macrolide antibiotics on erythromycin resistance in group A streptococci in Finland. N. Engl. J. Med. 337: 441 446.

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