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Low use of antibiotic in Denmark

Denmark is a pioneer in the efforts to achieve low use of antibiotics

Denmark is in the forefront, internationally, when it comes to low use of antibiotics for food-producing animals, and we are duly recognized for our initiatives in the field.

If the European Championship of efforts against antibiotic resistance was to be crowned, Denmark would be a good bet for the title.

In the beginning of 2016 EU’s control unit visited Denmark. It was a week-long visit with the intent of gathering information on the Danish effort to ensure appropriate use of antibiotics for animals. The EU highly acknowledged the Danish effort:

”Various aspects of the comprehensive measures that have been taken in Denmark for the purpose of facilitating an appropriate use of antimicrobial agents for animals, and fight the wider problem of  antimicrobial resistance, serve as an illustration of potentially good practice to other Member States”, the appraisal sounded.

Reduced use reduces resistance
Any use of antibiotics can cause the risk of developing resistance. Therefore, the Danish effort has aimed among other against reducing the use of antibiotics in pigs, which due to the large Danish pig production has accounted for up to 80 percent of the use in animals in Denmark. Due to targeted initiatives as the Yellow Card, the use of antibiotics in pigs has successfully been reduced with 22 percent for the period of 2009 – 2015. And the reduction continues! The goal of the MRSA-action plan is to reduce the use for pigs with 15 percent for the period of 2015 – 2018.

When comparing the use of antibiotics for food-producing animals with other EU countries with a correspondingly large and significant production, Denmark is in front as the country with the lowest use. Compared to all EU countries Denmark has the eighth lowest use, only surpassed by countries with significantly lower production. (ESVAC rapport Sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in 26 EU/EEA countries in 2013 )


Because of many years of experience with the reduction of antibiotic use and the effort against antibiotic resistance, Denmark has been invited to contribute to the new action plan of the Committee against antibiotic resistance, with our experience of the use of monitoring and the objective to reduce the veterinary use of antibiotics.


Last Modified 16. September 2016