Antibiotic-Free Pork Production to be Discussed as Part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2022

Oct 17, 2022

A veterinarian with Southwest Vets suggests, as the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture declines, health status is king. "Antibiotics or Not?" will be among the topics discussed next month as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2022 in Saskatoon.

Dr. Greg Wideman, a veterinarian with South West Vets, says a farm that is able to produce pigs without the use of antibiotics could, in theory, have a marketing advantage over a farm that is unable to do that.

Clip-Dr. Greg Wideman-South West Vets:

The market does give some signal that there is a consumer appetite for pigs raised on premises or pork coming from pigs that are raised without antibiotics, so under a raised without antibiotics label or similar to that. From 30 thousand feet health is king and so a farm that is free from certain diseases that drive antibiotic use or a farm that could be made free of those diseases through disease elimination in some form, that's number one.

Tied closely with that is the biosecurity of the farm and whether or not the health status can be good and sustainable over time.Then after that come lots of other considerations.These antibiotic-free programs and labels are not all the same.

Some of them have restrictions on how animals can be treated within the farm if they need it, how animals are transported to market and those are really important considerations that can make or break the success of the program for an individual farm.

Dr. Wideman says regardless of whether a farm is conventional or some form of antibiotic-free, it's important to look at what is the minimum amount of antibiotics needed to protect the welfare of the pig and protect food safety?

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