Weekly Overview: US Elections, the Danish Pig Industry, Antimicrobial Resistance

12 November 2012, at 11:55pm

ANALYSIS - Industry watchers speculate that President Obama's new administration could significantly impact the nation's livestock industries. In Denmark, the pig industry is forecast to benefit as pig prices rise and EU pig numbers fall, while the Parliament has ratified agreements to improve animal welfare and cut antibiotic use further. A new study estimates that pigs account for just 0.00034 per cent of the antimicrobial resistance in the human population.

In the US, President Obama has been re-elected for a second term. Industry watchers, Steve Meyer and Len Steiner say that the new administration's fiscal and monetary policies will have their most profound impacts on the meat and poultry sectors through their impact on demand, both domestic and foreign.

Denmark's pig sector is set to profit as EU numbers fall, according to the Danish Agriculture and Food Council. Speaking at the Herning conference recently, a senior analyst forecast price rises next year with a continual drift upwards as the year progresses.

Staying in Denmark, ambitious plans on further improving animal welfare and reducing antibiotics in farm animals have been set out.

The Danish Parliament has ratified an agreement on new strict rules for the use of antimicrobials in production animals and on animal welfare – both in the barn and during transport.

The new rules are supplemented by the allocation of more resources for inspections.

Denmark is known not only for a high standard in the field of animal welfare but also for awareness with regard to the use of antimicrobials. Now, the Danish Parliament has resolved to strengthen further both the rules and the inspections.

On welfare, the Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said: "Improved animal welfare is a cornerstone of the new agreement. We are obliged to take care of the animals we raise. We have agreed upon initiatives to improve welfare for animals and we have secured the provisions through strengthened inspections."

And finally, in what is thought to be one of the first studies of its type, it has been estimated that the contribution of pigs to human resistance of key antibiotics is likely to be about 0.00034 per cent. This is a remarkably small amount, according to the report's author, David Burch of Octagon Services Ltd in the UK.