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Antibiotic Use Reduction on Iowa Swine Day Agenda

18 June 2014, at 7:40am

US - The pork industry’s response to federal action phasing out some antibiotics used to promote growth in hog production will be discussed on 26 June at the third annual Iowa Swine Day at Iowa State University.

Helping to coordinate Iowa Swine Day is animal science professor, John Patience, who said: “Presentations at Iowa Swine Day will provide current, science-based information on the topic of antibiotic growth promotion, its relationship with human health and how new federal regulations will affect how we feed pigs in the future.”

The Food and Drug Administration is implementing a voluntary plan with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out the use of certain antibiotics for growth promotion. Some antibiotics are added to animal feed or drinking water of hogs, cattle, poultry and other food-producing animals to prevent disease, help them gain weight faster and/or use less feed to gain weight.

The use of antibiotic growth promoters in livestock production is a very emotional topic in some circles, Professor Patience said.

He added: “There is concern that this practice is contributing to the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in human medicine, and there is also a feeling that reducing the practice on farms will reduce the problem in human medicine.”

Among the speakers addressing this issue will be Dr Richard Raymond, former US Department of Agriculture undersecretary for food safety.

Professor Patience explained: “Dr Raymond has been involved in this issue for more than a decade and is well-positioned to provide science-based information that will put the use of antibiotic growth promoters into its proper perspective.

Dr Raymond said: “I will try to separate perception from reality by looking closely at the numbers. My goal is an educated audience that can engage in the constructive discussions that are needed to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of antibiotics in both human medicine and animal medicine.”

Professor Patience said Theo van Kempen, European swine application and solution specialist for Nutreco, a global animal nutrition company, will provide a European perspective on how feeding programs have evolved when antibiotic usage is restricted by government regulation.

Dr van Kempen said: “European swine producers have experienced legislation focused on sustainability, banning antimicrobials as growth promoters, for many years and the industry has tried to live with this legislation. This has led to many failures, new health challenges and some successes, something other regions can learn from.”

Other regional, national and international leaders in swine research, economics, veterinary medicine, production, animal welfare and the marketplace will address challenges facing the pork industry, animal science and consumers, including porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) virus, food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity.

The event is scheduled from 9:00am to 5:15pm at the Benton Auditorium, in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State campus.

Iowa Swine Day is open to the public, and especially targets pork producers, pork industry suppliers, extension personnel, consultants, researchers and veterinarians. Students are eligible for a discount on registration if they are currently enrolled in school.

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