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Pig Industry Faces Revolution

by 5m Editor
8 November 2013, at 7:42am

UK - A revolution in performance is going to hit the pig industry over the next ten years, says this year’s winner of the David Black Award.

Vet Pete Bown has worked as a consultant to one of the major breeding firms and said: "The genetic improvements in the pipeline are mind-blowing.

"It will give our producers a fantastic opportunity to sell a quality product with a very good cost of production provided they pay attention to herd health."

Peter, who is married with two sons, received his award at an industry breakfast held in the House of Lords.

Looking back on his 45 years in practice, he said: "When I started, disease was easy to manage, then we had a very dark period with Classical Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth and PMWS.

"Now we have much healthier pigs and provided we remain vigilant I think the industry has huge opportunities."

When Pete started with what has become the George vet group, he was the fourth vet in the practice and they had one pig client. The group now employs more than 30 vets with six pig specialists.

He qualified in Glasgow in 1968, then worked as a locum for a few vets before moving down to Malmesbury in Wiltshire for a year before returning to do a PhD. That PhD didn’t work out so he stayed.

He said: "I became interested in population medicine so that meant it was either pigs or chickens and pigs had always fascinated me."

Away from farms, Pete was on the professional after-dinner speaking circuit for 20 years so ended up being employed to give presentations on behalf of drug companies all over the world.

On being told he was the winner of this year’s David Black Award he said: "I was in the garden when my wife told me Mick Sloyan was on the phone. I thought to myself he must want me to sit on another committee.

"When he told me I had won the award I was totally stunned."

At the event a Sausage Oscar was presented to Peter Allen of butchers Aubrey Allen for their contribution to promoting one of the country’s gastronomic icons.

The firm was founded 80 years ago and this year was granted a Royal Warrant by The Queen. The firm has won many awards, most recently 1st prize in the Healthy Sausage Category at the BPEX Foodservice Pork Sausage of the Year competition.

The award was presented to company chairman Peter Allen.

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