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Canadian Vets Identify Challenges in Antibiotic Free Pig Production

25 November 2016, at 6:00am

CANADA - The Veterinary Counsel with the Canadian Pork Council says key concerns among veterinarians working with animals in "Raised Without Antibiotics" programmes include challenges in maintaining animal health and animal welfare and in accessing alternatives to antibiotics, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The Canada-West Swine Health Intelligence Network has conducted a survey of swine veterinarians working with pigs in Raised Without Antibiotics production.

Dr Egan Brockhoff, the Veterinary Counsel with the Canadian Pork Council, says the survey was intended to help the veterinary community understand how Raised Without Antibiotics production is evolving in western Canada.

Dr Egan Brockhoff-Canadian Pork Council:

Questions were really focussed on what percentage of your herds are participating in a Raised Without Antibiotic forum, what is the impact on the herd, how are the animals doing, what are the key challenges that you're facing with Raised Without Antibiotic production and what are some of the tools you would like to see in the future to help make Raised Without Antibiotics a more viable and sustainable alternative.

Certainly there were some primary concerns around increased health challenges in Raised Without Antibiotic herds and how they translate into increased mortality and in some cases increased challenges with maintaining animal welfare.

Some of the other challenges that veterinary practitioners really focussed on were some of the lack of tools that they have available to themselves to help manage disease in herds that are on a Raised Without Antibiotic program and so accessing autogenous vaccinations, accessing alternative new technical products to help strengthen and bolster health.

Dr Brockhoff says it's important to recognize that, while animals in Raised Without Antibiotics programs have minimal exposure during their lives to antibiotics, all of meat and milk products sold in Canada are antibiotic free.

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