March 3, 2017
US pork industry recommits to responsible on-farm antibiotic use
The US National Pork Board has reaffirmed its commitment to antibiotic stewardship during a live online broadcast event.
During the 30-minute programme (entitled "Real Change: A Live Discussion of On-Farm Antibiotic Use"), experts discussed the pork industry's leadership in responsible antibiotic use and how it has implemented new strict guidelines set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Those guidelines went into effect Jan. 1.
"There is very real change happening on the farm, and we want those who care about these issues to understand the commitment that pig farmers have with regard to antibiotic stewardship and continuous improvement in animal welfare," said John Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Pork Board.
"For nearly two years, we have been educating farmers on antibiotic stewardship, investing in research and helping prepare for these changes. Hands down, it has been our largest pig farmer education campaign ever", he added.
The FDA has ended the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion, and increases veterinarian oversight for on-farm antibiotic use through the Veterinary Feed Directive and prescriptions. All human medically important antibiotics administered to pigs in feed and water must have direct veterinarian oversight.
Antibiotics only when necessary
Brad Greenway, a pig farmer from South Dakota and America's Pig Farmer of the Year, said, "We've always been committed to a process of continuous improvement in a number of areas, especially regarding responsible antibiotic use", adding that they are prescribed antibiotics only when it is medically necessary for the well-being of the animal.
The broadcast also brought up the topic of antibiotic resistance, a complex issue that affects both veterinary and human medicine.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the world's most pressing health problems.
"In the end, we're committed to defining the ideal balance of the right medicine, in the right dose, at the right time for our pigs," said Dr. Michelle Sprague, veterinarian and director of sow health at AMVC Management Services.
A replay of the broadcast can be viewed online at: RealChangeOnFarms.org. To learn more about responsible on-farm antibiotic use, visit pork.org/antibiotics.