Pig producers confident of addressing antibiotics fears

Quality Meat Scotland said pig farmers are 'very aware' of the need to use antibiotics carefully. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Quality Meat Scotland said pig farmers are 'very aware' of the need to use antibiotics carefully. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

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With the use of antibiotics in the veterinary and medical sectors under considerable scrutiny due to concerns over antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Scotland’s pig producers this week claimed that they were well placed to address these concerns.

Allan Wards, pig specialist with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said that the Scottish pig industry had a strong track record on embracing innovation and technology to improve pig health and welfare. He added that the latest steps on antibiotic usage would reinforce measures already in place to ensure use of these drugs was carefully targeted and recorded.

Ward said that the vast majority of Scotland’s commercial pig farmers signed up to the quality assurance scheme run by QMS which underpinned the Specially Selected Pork brand.

READ MORE: Cattle farmers asked to help map use of antibiotics

And he revealed that scheme members were now required to record any antibiotics used in an electronic medicines book, allowing antibiotic use on both individual farms and across the industry to be monitored and managed.

He said that tighter controls had also been introduced on the use of products in the “Critically Important” antibiotic category.

“Scottish commercial pig farmers are very aware of the need for antibiotics to be used in a careful, targeted way,” said Ward.

“This is in the interests of an animal’s health and welfare and also makes good business sense as antibiotics can be a significant cost.

“Moves to further improve the targeting of antibiotic use, combined with alternative management techniques, are a win-win all round. QMS assured pig farmers are required to regularly submit their antibiotic use data.”

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