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Characteristics of commercial pig farms in Great Britain and their use of antimicrobials
  1. K. B. Stevens, BScAgric, MScAgric1,
  2. J. Gilbert, MB, BCh, BVM&S, MSc(VetEpi), MRCVS2,
  3. W. D. Strachan, BSc, MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS3,
  4. J. Robertson, BSc, MSc, MIAgrE4,
  5. A. M. Johnston, BVM&S, DVetMed, DipECVP, FRCVS1 and
  6. D. U. Pfeiffer, DrMedVet, PhD, MACVSc, DipECVPH1
  1. 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA
  2. 2 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 3 Nguyen Gia Thieu, PO Box 63, HaNoi, Vietnam
  3. 3 SAC Veterinary Services, Mill of Craibstone, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9TB
  4. 4 School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, St Machar Drive, Aberdeen AB24 3RY


A mail survey of 1889 pig producers in Great Britain with more than 100 sows or more than 1000 pigs was carried out to investigate their use of antimicrobials and other health-related management practices. The response rate was 25·5 per cent. Antimicrobials were most commonly administered in feed. Depending on the production system, between 60 and 75 per cent of the farms had used antimicrobials in their weaner rations and 20 to 62 per cent had used them in their grower rations. Antimicrobial injections had been used on 59 per cent of the farms. The use of antimicrobials in pigs of different age groups was variously associated with the scale of production, membership of a quality assurance scheme, the use of vaccination and whether the farmer thought the farm environment could be improved. Half the respondents (49 per cent) indicated that they used growth promoters in their weaners, but fewer used these in their growers (45 per cent) and finishers (34 per cent). Although 63 per cent of the farmers felt that the continued use of antimicrobials for disease prevention was justified, only 21 per cent felt that their continued use as growth promoters was justified.

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