130 cases of fines to farmers for heavy use of antibiotics

Less than 1 percent of farmers have in the course of a year been fined, compared with the estimated level of 5-10 percent of farmers to be fined, when  the Danish Parliament in the autumn 2010 decided to minimize the use of antibiotics to pigs by introducing a yellow scheme with fines to farmers for heavy use of antibiotics. 

See the discussion in the Danish parliament on the decision of yellow scheme.

All together since the introduction of yellow scheme there have been 130 cases of fines giving to farmers according to documents which Investigative Reporting Denmark has obtained, with names of all the farmers getting a fine.

Excel-file with all data on 130 cases of yellow scheme

Original documents showing fines to farmers:

Yellow scheme in 2011

Yellow scheme in 2012

Yellow scheme in 2013

Yellow scheme in 2014
According to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration only 0.3 to 0.8 pct of the farms received a yellow scheme in the years from 2011-2014, during which the system has been in effect. The documents also show only 2 farmers instead of an estimated 200 received an increased fine and surveillance and no one received a red scheme or had their number of pigs reduced.

Authorities claim that this result is because of the success of the system. In fact the aim of the system was to reduce the use of antibiotics from the year 2009 to 2013 by 10 percent.

The new system with yellow scheme in the autumn 2010 actually worked immediately with a dramatic fall in the use of antibiotics from 103,6 tons in 2009 with 21 percent to 81,4 tons in the year 2011 – the first full year after the new system.

So immediately the system worked to decrease the use. But then the use has been growing again. In 2013 the use of antibiotics amounted 90,7 tons, which in fact is a decline from 2009 by 13 percent, but the figure also reflects a growth over 2012 and 2013. This increase in the use of antibiotics is 13 percent higher than the lower level in 2011.

The authorities in 2012 and 2013 failed to make use of the tools – decided by the Danish parliament – for reducing the use of antibiotics as intended.

In a new test of 209 pig-farms the authorities estimate 50-70 percent of all farms are infected with MRSA. This report is still kept secret. In 2010 and 2011 only 16 percent of farms were infected with MRSA, according to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

Data for 2014 shows a new decline in the use of antibiotics, measured in weight as has been done through the years.

Other data analyzed by Investigative Reporting Denmark shows an increase in the use of antibiotics in terms of their effictiveness. This means that the farmers use stronger antibiotics today.

Pig-farmers use of antibiotics continues to grow in 2014
Hans Jørn Kolmos, professor of microbiology and chief physician at Odense University Hospital, says there are two ways to measure the use of antibiotics, by weight and by Defined Animal Daily Dose, DADD. DADD was used by Investigative Reporting Denmark in concluding that the use of antibiotics increased in 2014.

– DADD gives a more precise picture of the intensity of animal treatment. This is the most important figure when we evaluate risk of development of resistant bacteria which can spread from animals to humans, says Kolmos.

Pig-farmers now promise to reduce the use of the tetracycline by 50%in 2015. In 2013 the use of tetracycline was 29,8 tons. Instead of tetracycline the farmers will use pleuromutilines. The most common is tiamulin.

Doctors criticize this move as being insufficient.

Three pig-farmers have received the yellow scheme three times. They are:

Egegård  Aps, Randersvej 245, 8450 – up to 257 percent higher than accepted level

Lars Christensen, Emborgvej 118, 8660  – up to 118 percent higher than accepted level

A/S Hatting KS, Oensvej 48, 8700 – up to 71 percent higher than accepted level

11 farms have received the scheme twice. 99 farms have received one yellow scheme.

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