Antibiotics Access Changes to Challenge Smaller Pork Producers

CANADA - The chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council says legislative changes in the level of access by pork producers to antibiotics will have the largest impact on smaller operators, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 June 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

By the end of 2016 US pork producers will be required to discontinue the use, for growth promotion, of antibiotics in classes used in human medicine and those antibiotics used for therapeutic purposes must be done with veterinary oversight.

NPPC chief veterinarian Dr Liz Wagstrom views the changes as an opportunity for pork producers to demonstrate they're being proactive and are using antibiotics responsibly.

Dr Liz Wagstrom-National Pork Producers Council:

We believe pork producers have always been strategic about how they use antibiotics and, as part of PQA plus, we've required that a veterinarian client patient relationship exist.

What's going to change is that those uses for production efficiencies are going away, at least of all those antibiotics that are in classes used in human medicine.

And also what the producers won't have the ability to do is to do a treatment of a group of animals that was not part of, let's say, a herd health program but they just decided that they saw sick animals, let's go ahead and treat them.

They can't do that anymore without a veterinarian writing either a VFD or a prescription.

I think, for our larger systems, and the systems that have consulting veterinarians and veterinarians on staff, they'll adapt pretty quickly.

The thing I worry more about is our small producers, producers in remote areas that don't have regular veterinary access, that aren't buying large quantities of feed.

Some of those producers may be impacted more greatly than the larger producers.

Dr Wagstrom recommends consult with your veterinarian and if you don't have a veterinarian getting a veterinarian, go over herd health plans, understand why you're using antibiotics, determine what antibiotics will still be needed, and plan ahead.

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