Project: Evaluation of alternative strategies for raising pigs with minimal antimicrobial usage: Opportunities and constraints.

Recent statistics on the use of antimicrobials in pig farming in Europe indicate that the extent of usage may be larger than assumed. Prophylactic use is particularly high in suckling and weaning pigs. In order to sustain the effectiveness of antimicrobial substances for the treatment of humans and animals, alternative strategies in agriculture are required which can assure the health and welfare of pigs while offering sustainable solutions for farmers. MINAPIG research will pursue this vision by investigating strategies that promote pig health and thus lead to a reduced need for antimicrobial use. The objectives of the project are 1) to assess the efficacy and effectiveness of specific and unspecific technical alternatives to antimicrobial usage in pig production, 2) to identify drivers impacting on choices of farmers and veterinarians between alternative strategies, and 3) to transfer obtained knowledge to veterinarians and farmers to promote sustainable pig production. Field studies will be conducted to investigate and compare different levels of husbandry, biosecurity and vaccination with the amount of antimicrobials used in pig farms. The studies will focus on slaughter pigs from birth to slaughter age. Comparisons will be conducted between farms with and without certain management and preventive strategies and high and low levels of antimicrobial usage. Results will be analysed across countries and will be compared using meta-analysis methods. Economical evaluations will be conducted to establish the relative costs and benefits from alternative strategies when compared with antimicrobial usage. The attitude of farmers and veterinarians towards antimicrobial usage and alternative preventive strategies will be investigated using a methodology based on in-depth interviews.These qualitative interviews will allow unveiling the mental models that guide decisions of farmers and vets. Comparisons will be made between farmers and veterinarians within and between countries.Specific interventions to change attitudes among farmers and veterinarians will be explored. The use of information and education will be investigated using existing tools for knowledge transfer including web based platforms. MINAPIG research will provide the foundation for an integrated understanding of technical and psychological factors driving decisions of farmers and veterinarians about pig health and production and the consequential interventions, particularly the use of antimicrobials across different pig production practices in Europe. The project will enhance our understanding of attitudes, motives and barriers that are impacting on choices related to antimicrobials. This is essential for changing practices used in pig production across countries and for policy development. The MINAPIG research consortium consists of 10 partners with a mix of academic, industry and SME background, and they represent 6 countries with both small- and large-size pig sectors.

Duration 31/03/2015
Website visit project website
Network EMIDA
Call 2nd EMIDA Joint Call on Emerging and Major Infectious Diseases of Livestock

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Ghent University Belgium
University of Bonn Germany
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich Switzerland
French National Research Agency France
Danish Agriculture and Food Council Denmark
Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning Sweden
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health GmbH Germany
Safoso AG Switzerland
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden
Federal Department of Home Affairs - Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office Switzerland
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Germany
Safoso AG Coordinator Switzerland
Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany
Nantes Atlantic College of Veterinary Medicine, Food Science and Engineering France
Swedish National Veterinary Institute Sweden
Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre Belgium
Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Denmark