Pork Industry Fires Back

Pork Industry Fires Back

Pork Industry Fires Back. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

The pork industry is working in damage control mode after a two-part report aired on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric focused on antimicrobial use in food animal production. Among other things - the report suggests antibiotic use in livestock is leading to more resistance in humans - a trend Dr. Jen Greiner says isn’t supported by the science.
GREINER: The bottom line  when you look at the National Animal Health Monitoring System or NARM study we’re just not seeing those trends and at the end of the day as we all know our producers are working on using antibiotics responsibly on our farms each and every day.

Greiner is Director of Science and Technology for the National Pork Producers Council. She notes Denmark placed a ban on antibiotic growth promoters in the late 1990s. And while CBS called it a great success story - Greiner says that’s just not the case.

GREINER: They will tell you that banning antibiotic growth promoters not only created more pig deaths and caused their pigs to suffer but also it didn’t have a positive public health outcome. The other important thing for people here in the U.S. to know is that while Denmark banned antibiotic growth promoters Representative Slaughters bill HR 1549, the Preservation of Antimicrobials for Medical Treatment Act or PAMTA would not only ban antibiotic growth promoters but it would also ban the use of antibiotics for preventing disease as well as controlling disease.

Meaning producers would only have the ability to treat a clinically sick animal. Greiner says that would be an unmitigated disaster for the industry - and ultimately impact consumers.

GREINER: Dr. Scott Herr from Iowa State University did a study a few years back where he looked at pigs that were sick versus pigs that were sick during the course of their lives, those pigs that were sick had a greater incidence of food borne pathogens on their carcasses.

Greiner says producers desire to provide a safe and wholesome product for consumers - and they are good stewards of the land and of animals. She says they need the license to produce as they see necessary. But she says the threat to that is very real.

GREINER: There’s a mounting tidal wave that’s coming on antibiotics and as a producer, as a veterinarian I’m very fearful that we are going to see some sort of action in the public policy region on how farmers use antibiotics today. We’ve been talking about this for 20 years and this is real.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.


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