The Swedish Experience of the 1986 Year Ban of Antimicrobial Growth Promoters, with Special Reference to Animal Health, Disease Prevention, Productivity, and Usage of Antimicrobials

  • Wierup M
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In Sweden the use of antimicrobial growth promoters (AMGP) was banned in 1986. The experiences gained from that ban are presented. In production of slaughter pigs, specialized beef, and turkeys, no negative clinical effects were reported as a consequence of the ban. In broiler chicken production, expected problems with necrotic enteritis were prevented by a continuous use of antibiotics, largely to the same extent during the first 2 years after the ban. Following the implementation of results from experimental activities during that period, the general usage of antimicrobials could be stopped and expected problems with outbreaks of necrotic enteritis was prevented. In piglet production, significant clinical problems emerged that created a demand for antibiotic-medicated feed at therapeutic dosages. During the subsequent 4-year period, the use of antibiotics increased, involving up to 75% of the pigs. Thereafter, the use of antibiotics decreased because of improved management, and could be halved in 1993 followed by a gradual further decrease supported by the addition of zinc oxide to the feed. In 1998, compared to 1994, the total use of zinc decreased by 90%. In 1998/1999, only 5% of weaning piglet producing herds used antibiotic medicated feed and 17% used zinc. The AMGP ban has shown that under good production conditions it is possible to reach good and competitive production results for the rearing of poultry, calves, and pigs without the continuous use of AMGP. As a result of the ban and a focus on disease prevention and correct use of antimicrobials, the total use of antibacterial drugs to animals in Sweden decreased by approximately 55% during the last 13-year period, and a relatively low prevalence of antimicrobial resistance has been maintained.

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  • Martin Wierup

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