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Are you considering raising pigs without antibiotics?

The National Pork Board provides a self-assessment tool to evaluate your ability to go antibiotic-free.

5 February 2019, at 3:16pm

The Pork Checkoff and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians have produced a checklist of questions to ask yourself when deciding how far your system can go towards being antibiotic-free.

Changing any part of your system should be the result of an informed decision, proceeded by the preparation of contingency plans should issues arise. The answers to the questions in this self-assessment tool should provide you with guidance as to where there is the potential for added production costs, negative impacts on animal welfare, public health and food safety concerns.

For all stages of production

  • What is you herd health history?
  • What is the disease prevalence in your area?
  • Have you talked to your veterinarian about transitioning to RWA and developed a strategic plan to identify and treat sick animals?
  • Have you determined what steps animal caretakers should take once they identify sick pigs to initiate isolation and treatment promptly?
  • Is your facility capable of separating sick and treated pigs from the rest of the herd, including during transport?
  • Have you and your veterinarian discussed potential breaks in RWA production in case of a disease outbreak?
  • Have you considered the potential added cost of RWA system?
  • What are the marketing programme requirements for the RWA production type you are considering?

Sow farms

  • Can you provide appropriately sized farrowing stalls or pens to accommodate older weaning ages?
  • Have you considered ways to control disease outbreaks between litters?

Nursery and finisher farms

  • Are you able to obtain your herd from a single sow farm to minimise co-mingling at your facility?
  • Are you able to obtain weaned pigs that were weaned at an older age?

Additional questions can be found in the self-assessment tool online.