Dr. Sprague committed to proper antibiotic use

posted on Thursday, March 2, 2017 in AMVC Veterinarians in the News

The National Pork Board did a live broadcast to kick off the 2017 Pork Forum in Atlanta, Ga., called “Real Change: A Live Discussion of On-Farm Antibiotic Use.” The broadcast focused on what pig farmers are doing to ensure a safe, high quality product for consumers and how they are working with veterinarians on sound antibiotic stewardship.

“People do love pork – it’s in great demand, but consumers want to know more about where their food comes from,” said John Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Pork Board said. He stressed how important it is for people to know and understand pig farmers’ commitment to this issue.

Antibiotic stewardship was described by Johnson as “using as much as necessary but as little as possible.” He talked about the many steps the National Pork Board is taking to help producers, and the commitment producers have made to ensure a safe supply of pork.

“Pig farmers are ready and willing to do their part,” he said.

Brad Greenway, a farmer from South Dakota who was chosen as America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, was part of the broadcast as well. His best management practices were featured in a short video during the broadcast (go to PORK Network’s Facebook page to see a clip).

Greenway explained that his veterinarian is a partner in his operation, all in an effort to help consumers understand that he – and pig farmers like him – are providing a safe supply of pork.

“We’ve always been committed to a process of continuous improvement in a number of areas, especially regarding responsible antibiotic use,” Greenway said. “We have a great relationship with our veterinarian, with regular check-ins to make sure we’re operating safely and effectively. It’s only when it is medically necessary for the well-being of the animal that we are prescribed antibiotics.”

Dr. Michelle Sprague, veterinarian and director of sow health at AMVC Management Services headquartered in Audubon, Iowa, said it’s important to note the increased oversight veterinarians provide in working with pig farmers, to make sure antibiotics are used properly.

“Whether for prevention or treatment, the same protocols apply,” Sprague said. “At the end of the day, comfortable pigs have less stress, and less stressed pigs are less susceptible to disease…We’re committed to defining the ideal balance of the right medicine, in the right dose, at the right time for our pigs,” Sprague said.

“Consumers are thirsty for information,” said Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods at the Food Marketing Institute, during the live broadcast.

“It’s a shared responsibility, and we all have to do our part to navigate this evolving discussion about antibiotics and providing safe food to our consumers. Organizations like the National Pork Board are getting out there and being stewards of this complicated and evolving issue. It’s a complex issue and you have to look at all parts of the supply chain. We need to supply good information to consumers so they can made the right decisions at the end of the day.”

He admitted that consumers don’t know very much about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, but they know that over-antibiotic use is not good. He feels it’s imperative that producers explain the protocols they’re using so consumers know how the industry is addressing the issue.

A replay of the broadcast can be viewed online at: RealChangeOnFarms.org. For more information on the National Pork Board’s efforts to assist farmers and others who want to learn more about responsible on-farm antibiotic use, visit pork.org/antibiotics

Article credit to: Pork Network, Joann Alumbaugh 3/1/17


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