posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 in AMVC Employee Blog
Public health is very important to me as a pig farmer. I would rather work to prevent a disease than treat my pigs for one. I also want the consumer to have absolute trust in me and the practices I do on my farm to make sure that the health of the public is upheld. There are several steps we take to keep our pigs healthy and it all starts with biosecurity.
I start my day by showering in and wearing clothes that are specific to my farm. We wash all of our clothes on the farm and keep them on-site. The supplies that enter our farm are put through a fumigation room or UV light chamber to kill anything that could be brought into the farm from an outside supplier. Inside the farm, we keep our animals healthy by properly vaccinating them and making daily observations of behavior, feed and water intake, cleanliness of the environment, and monitor air quality and temperature. When I leave the farm, I take another shower.
The relationship that pig farmers have with their veterinarian is extremely important. I have a working relationship with our farm vet, or in industry terms, a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR), which allows pig farmers to do their best with oversight and guidelines from our veterinarians. Our veterinarian also creates a protocol for everything that is done on the farm. This plays a role in public health because these protocols set guidelines for antibiotic usage as we administer antibiotics the way it was prescribed. The protocols also set vaccination schedules as well as describes how things are brought into and taken out of the farm.
We do sometimes have to use antibiotics on my farm, but I always work with my veterinarian when we are using an antibiotic. I use antibiotics responsibly by keeping diligent records, administering the correct dosage with the proper method and only treating what is necessary. Antibiotic withdrawal times are followed, as the animal cannot go to market until the withdrawal period has passed to make sure there is not any antibiotic residue in the meat. I believe that if a pig is sick, it should be treated; not treating that sick animal would be inhumane, resulting in reduced animal welfare and increased concerns about food safety.
As a pig farmer, we work closely with the government agencies that regulate rules for our consumers’ meat to ensure the public gets a healthy, safe and tasty pork product. The agencies that we work with are the United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA) and the FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service). These two agencies oversee regular testing of the meat that comes into the food supply, as well as, monitors that meat for consumer safety. These tests happen throughout the steps of making the pork product at the packing plant. We also comply with FDA guidelines when treating pigs-antibiotic use. The FDA regulates the use of medically important antibiotics that we use to treat our pigs and the antibiotics used to control and prevent disease in our herds. By working closely with these agencies, we can be proactive when it comes to any changes that need to be done at the farm level to ensure public health when taking our pork to the market.
I want consumers to know how much I care about the animals on my farm. I want to continue to have consumer trust, so I share my story on social media to show the public what goes on inside of the barn. My hope is that the consumer can understand why we do the things we do on the farm and that pig farmers are working hard to keep both their animals and the public safe.
Credit to: Real Pig Farming, 11/21/18