Antibiotic-Free Pork Production Offers Opportunity to Enhance Value of Pigs

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Farmscape for November 17, 2022

Full Interview 4:43 Listen

A veterinarian with South West Vets says there is an opportunity for pork producers to take advantage of the value that antibiotic-free production can add to their pigs. “Antibiotic-Free or Not? What Makes Sense for Your Operation?” was among the topics discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2022 which wrapped up yesterday in Saskatoon. Dr. Greg Wideman, a veterinarian with South West Vets, says health is king so a farm that’s free or could be made free of diseases that drive antibiotic use is number one and the market does signal that there is a consumer appetite for pork from pigs that are raised without antibiotics.

Clip- Dr. Greg Wideman-South West Vets:
Antibiotic-free pork production is a term that covers a fairly wide range of different production programs from organic, which has many conditions, right down to programs that would just restrict but not eliminate the use of antibiotics. It’s all just good production practices and they’re production practices that apply to a conventional farm or organic farm or an antibiotic-free farm, all of the above.
A farm that’s successful at antibiotic-free production really has to have mastered all elements of providing a good environment for the pig and managing the production of pigs and the health of pigs without having to rely on antibiotics too much. I think these programs are growing in scale and in popularity because there are consumers of pork in Canada who are really worried about the problem of antimicrobial resistance and understand that antimicrobial use, in this case on the farm, can contribute to that problem so they are looking for meat that fits their values in that area.

Dr. Wideman says there are good opportunities in Canada for antibiotic-free production and the added value that that can bring to the farm.
He suggests it should probably start with a conversation with your veterinarian to really understand the farm’s health history and the background and whether or not the farm is a good candidate.

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