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Antibiotics to Treat Disease Critical to Ensure Pig Welfare

1 August 2016, at 12:00am

CANADA - The Chair of Swine Innovation Porc says, while developing new tools to prevent and treat disease within livestock production remains a priority, continued access to antibiotics is still important, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The federal government published Proposed Changes to the Food and Drug Regulations Related to Antimicrobial Resistance July 2, kicking off a 75 day public comment period.

Stewart Cressman, the Chair of Swine Innovation Porc, says, while the development of alternatives to antibiotics in pork production has been identified by the pork industry as a top priority, it's critical that access to antibiotics to prevent and treat disease be maintained.

Stewart Cressman-Innovation Porc:

Certainly we understand it's a hot button item with the public.

We understand the concern of antimicrobial resistance.

Pork producer families, when they go into hospital or visit their doctor, they want to make sure that the antibiotics that are available for specific human diseases will work on them and so I think it is a concern to the industry.

I think the industry is aware that we're going to have to reduce, over time, the amount of antibiotics that are being used at the farm.

We certainly want to make sure that antibiotics remain as an opportunity for treating sick animals.
I know there's a lot of raised without programs that have gained popularity at the retail level, raised without antibiotics.

The concern is that then the producer is forced into a double clutch situation where he has a pig.

Does he treat it, is it going to get well in a day or two on its own spontaneously and so the concern is that it may evolve, if not handled properly, into a welfare issue.

Cressman says the key is to make sure that we're not using antibiotics more than required.

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Mycotoxins in Swine Production

The impact of mycotoxins — through losses in commodity quality and livestock health — exceeds $1.4 billion in the United States alone, according to the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. This guide includes:

  • An overview of different types of mycotoxins
  • Understanding of the effects of mycotoxicoses in swine
  • Instructions on how to analyze mycotoxin content in commodities and feeds
  • Innovative ways of combatting mycotoxins and their effects
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