Antibiotic-Free Pork Production Offers Marketing Advantage

Farmscape for October 24, 2022

Full Interview 6:44 Listen

A veterinarian with Southwest Vets suggests swine farms capable of eliminating antibiotic use could have a marketing advantage over farms than can’t. “Antibiotics or Not?” will be among the topics discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2022 November 15 and 16 in Saskatoon. Dr. Greg Wideman, a veterinarian with South West Vets, says the market does signal that there is a consumer appetite for pork from pigs that are raised without antibiotics.

Clip-Dr. Greg Wideman-Southwest Vets:
I think that antibiotic use in food animal production remains a really high priority issue because of our understanding about antimicrobial resistance and the very real human health problems that can be and holding that in balance with the need to care for animals, including sick animals and the fact that that sometimes does require antibiotics. In eastern Canada and I think to some extent in western Canada as well, marketing of one pig is a challenge and so a farm that is able to produce pigs without the use of antibiotics in theory could have a marketing advantage over a farm that is unable to do that and that could be desirable. More generally I think it’s important for probably every farm, whether their mode of production is conventional or some form of antibiotic-free, I think it’s important to be asking ourselves the question, “what is the minimum amount of antibiotics we need to keep the pigs healthy, protect the welfare of the pig and protect food safety without going overboard and using more than we have to and incurring the added cost of that, not to mention the added risk of creating antimicrobial resistance.

Dr. Wideman suggests health is king so a farm that’s free or could be made free of diseases that drive antibiotic use is number one.

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