Pig production has been highlighted as one of the highest users of antibiotics amongst livestock, with several studies suggesting a variety of approaches to antibiotic reduction. We aimed to investigate links between antibiotic use (defned as total amount of critically (CIA) and non-critically important antibiotics, and as mg per kg of pig on farm), production stages present on farm (Breeder–Finisher, Nursery–Finisher, and Finisher), and pig farm characteristics using farm data collected through national recording systems in Great Britain for 2017 & 2018. Providing enrichment within pig pens may reduce the need for antibiotics by enhancing both pig welfare and resilience to infection; this was one of the hypotheses addressed by this paper.

The amount of antibiotic used, expressed as mg/kg, reduced between 2017 and 2018 for Breeder–Finisher farms, but not for Nursery–Finisher or Finisher farms. Breeder–Finisher farms were more likely to use CIA compared with other production stages. Larger farms were more likely to use CIA, but farm size had no effect on mg/kg of antibiotic used. As the proportion of pens containing straw increased, the total use of antibiotics decreased for Breeder–Finisher, but not for Nursery–Finisher or Finisher farms. As the proportion of pens containing straw increased, the probability of using CIAs also decreased. Farms with a higher proportion of fnisher pens with an outdoor space had a lower use of non-critical antibiotics and lower probability of use of CIA. Farms with a higher proportion of pens with automatically controlled natural ventilation (ACNV) had lower total use of antibiotics, although ACNV had no efect on the probability of using CIA.

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