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Elimination of Antibiotics as Growth Promoters in Grower Pigs Recomended

by 5m Editor
5 June 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1260. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

World Pork Expo June 5, 2003 Report 04
(Episode 1260)

The University of Illinois suggests eliminating the use of antibiotics as growth promotants in the grower finisher barn is the best way for swine producers to tackle the matter of antibiotic resistance.

The implications of antibiotic use in livestock on the development of human antibiotic resistance has become a key issue.

Animal Science Professor Dr. Jim Pettigrew says antibiotics should only be used when they are needed but access to them to treat disease and to prevent the spread of disease in animals is important.

"Clearly the biggest driver of antibiotic resistance problems in human medicine is the use of antibiotics in human medicine.

Most of the problem comes from medical use of antibiotics and I think everyone who looks at the issue agrees with that.

The question that affects us in agriculture is whether our use of antibiotics in livestock production also makes some small contribution to the problem in human medicine and I think that's something that there's not good agreement about.

In my view, if we look as objectively as possible at the evidence, I think it's not very clear but I think we should conclude that it's likely that the use of antibiotics in animal production does make some small contribution to the antibiotic resistance problem.

Given that I think it's our responsibility as an industry to reduce the amount of antibiotics we use and therefore reduce the problem.

I would suggest that it's much more important to reduce the use of antibiotics in older pigs that are near market weight than it is in the very young pigs that are several months from being slaughtered for meat".

Dr. Pettigrew suggests we seriously consider the need to use antibiotics as growth promotants for finisher pigs.

He says that's where a large volume of antibiotics are used in swine production but the economic return is marginal and that's where we get the biggest concern related to antibiotic resistance in humans.

At World Pork Expo, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor