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Reduction of antibiotic use in pigs

Link: Agriculture and rural development > Financing the Common Agricultural Policy (FEADER)

The emergence of resistance and rejection of antibiotics, coupled with their inadecuate use in animal production, has forced meat producers to seek new strategies to pugmeat food that minimizes any risk to public health.

One of the main problemas pigmeat producers are encountering at the industrial leve lis antibiotic ressistance. In addition, if we ad to this the inappropriate use of these, people who work in this sector are forced to seek new strategies aimed at minimizing the public health risk.

Improving the conditions of management, biosecurity, feeding and welfare of animals on the farm can contribute to these purposes, since it allows an improvement in the sanitary status of the animals and contributes to a more rational use of veterinary medicines.

The indirect consecuences of antibiotic ressistance have so much impact on public health and have wide spread effects on both; the global and local economy, with losses due to lower productivity due to animal diseases and increassed treatment costs.


Galicia has one million head of pigs, of which about 380.000 are bait animals (MAGRAMA, 2016); in terms off tons of meat produced, pug sector covers the third place, behind the poultry and beef sectors (Xunta de Galicia, 2017).

This level of production is a consecuence of a high degree of intensification, which leads to problems such as mortality in young animals, tensión (Manteca, 2011) and the ease of spreading deseases in the herds. Relaxation in the use of good hygienic practices has resulted in the most frecuent measure to solve these problems being the use of antbiotics.

In order to advance a solution to this problema and mitigate the impact on animal and human health, multiple tests will be carried out, in collaboration with local pig producers (COPORC, S.C.G.) and based on the feeding and handing of animals in the fattening phase, to adapt the production system to the new legal requirements, aimed at reducing the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which will allow a meat with a differential quality, produced and quoted without antibiotics.


The final objective of this project will be the elimination of antibiotic additction in the diet of pigs in industrial cycle, in their last three monts of life. To achieve this will be necessary:

  • To design a production system bassed on feeding and handing, aimed at favouring the natural inmnunity of animals, as an strategy for improving food safety in production, which will allow the elimination of antibiotics from the ration in the belt phase.
  • Identify improvements related to the sustainability of industrial pig production and food safety.
  • Analyze costs and investment needs to adapt farms to this system.
  • To characterize the carcass ot fhe animals included in this production system “without antibiotics” to their differential quality.


During the process a follow-up will be carried out in different pig farms, where the suppression of antibiotics during the fattening phase will be tested, combining an improvement in the biosecurity of the farms and an improvement in general level of handing following of our main guide lines:

  • Established vaccination pattern.
  • Density control in the compartment, to reduce the possibility of contagion in case of desease.
  • Control of environmental conditions.
  • Testing of alternative feed aditives, which favor the strengthening of the animals’ inmune system.


The best guidelines will be identified in order to extrapolate them and disseminate them in the productive sector, carrying out transfer and advisorty actions within it. The animals that form of part of the study will be monitored periodically by means of various analyses to check that  they are not being given antibiotics in a preventive and generalissed manner. Any animal that has to be giben antibiotics will be removed from the trial.

If the results are satisfactory, an attempt shoud be made to extend the time taken to eliminate antibiotics, so as to reduce as far as posible their use in pig farming.


Project financing

The aid for the development of this project was requested under the Order of December 20, 2017, which establishes the regulatory bases of the concession, under the competitive concurrence of the aid for the execution of projects of the operating groups of the European Innovation Association (AEI), co-financed with the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) within the framework of the RDP of Galicia 2014-2020, and are convened for the year 2018

The aid is financed with EAFRD funds for 75%, with the Xunta de Galicia’s own funds for 22.5% and with funds from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment for 2.5%.

GRANTED AID: 99,856.35 euros.

Funded by:

Participating Entities


“Asociación de Desenvolvemento Rural Mariñas-Betanzos”

“Coporc  Sociedade Cooperativa Galega”

“Centro Tecnolóxico da Carne”


“Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (Laboratorio de Hixiene, Inspección e Control de Alimentos: LHICA)”

“Unión de Cooperativas Asociación Galega de Cooperativas Agrarias – AGACA”


  • Bibliographic review on the theme related to the project.
  • Characterization of farms in terms of farm biosecurity; health surveillance, deworming and vaccination plans; use of medicines in the farms participating in the project.
  • Control of administration of antibiotics by performing periodic analyzes of two animals for confirmation of the absence of residues.
  • Stool analysis for the study of intestinal flora in order to assess the influence of a diet with postbiotic growth parameters.
  • Analysis of the canles by means of a series of physical-chemical, instrumental and sensory analysis to characterize the meat produced with respect to its differential quality.
  • Periodic data collection (weight, verification of the physical condition of the animals, verification of the health status) for monitoring the management plans implemented.
  • Dissemination of the results of the project in the rural and scientific field.
  • Project Management.





During the duration of the project, 3 tests were carried out, but 4 management guidelines established to reduce the use of antibiotics during the bait phase were studied.

Once all the data was analyzed, I saw that:

Regarding the APPEARANCE OF PATHOLOXIES, AND THEREFORE IN THE NEED OF APPLICATION OF ANTIBIOTICS, I managed to reduce or their consumption through all the proposed strategies, except for the density guideline, because of the fact that the vaccination guideline did not produce new deaths. three repetitions performed. Thus, I do not use two animals that follow the environmental conditions control guideline, it is only necessary to administer antibiotics to a single animal during the 3 tests. Do not apply any one dose of antibiotic during or prophylactically bait.

Do not follow the document, you can consult in more detail the results obtained not proxecto:







“GUIDE FOR THE REDUCTION OF ANTIBIOTICS IN THE DIET OF PORCINE IN THE INDUSTRIAL CYCLE”. Prepared as part of the actions carried out within the Project FEADER 2018 / 001B

This guide is not intended to cover the health aspects of pigs in depth, only to offer a logical overview of the main practical aspects to consider to control the health status of a commercial pig farm. This requires assessing and controlling existing diseases and preventing the introduction of new diseases. In most situations, it will not be so much a matter of keeping the farm free of pathogens as knowing which of them you live with at any given time, what repercussions they have on production and avoiding the improper use of antibiotics.




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