The pork industry's response to federal action phasing out some antibiotics used to promote growth in hog production is one of the topics that will be discussed June 26 at the third annual Iowa Swine Day at Iowa State University at Ames. "Presentations at Iowa Swine Day will provide current, science-based information on the topic of antibiotic growth promotion, its relationship with human health and how new federal regulations will affect how we feed pigs in the future," says John Patience, animal science professor who is helping to coordinate the 2014 Iowa Swine Day.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is implementing a voluntary plan with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out the use of certain antibiotics for growth promotion. Some antibiotics are added to animal feed or drinking water of hogs, cattle, poultry and other food-producing animals to prevent disease, help them gain weight faster and/or use less feed to gain weight.
The use of antibiotic growth promoters in livestock production is a very emotional topic in some circles, Patience says. "There is concern that this practice is contributing to the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in human medicine, and there is also a feeling that reducing the practice on farms will reduce the problem in human medicine."
Covering a number of topics of interest to pork industry
Among the speakers addressing this issue will be Dr. Richard Raymond, former USDA undersecretary for food safety. "Dr. Raymond has been involved in this issue for more than a decade and is well-positioned to provide science-based information that will put the use of antibiotic growth promoters into its proper perspective," Patience says.
"I will try to separate perception from reality by looking closely at the numbers," Raymond explains. "My goal is an educated audience that can engage in the constructive discussions that are needed to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of antibiotics in both human medicine and animal medicine."
Patience says Theo van Kempen, European swine application and solution specialist for Nutreco, a global animal nutrition company, will provide a European perspective on how feeding programs have evolved when antibiotic usage is restricted by government regulation.
Iowa hog producers can learn from European experience
"European swine producers have experienced legislation focused on sustainability, banning antimicrobials as growth promoters, for many years and the industry has tried to live with this legislation," van Kempen says. "This has led to many failures, new health challenges and some successes, something other regions can learn from."
Other regional, national and international leaders in swine research, economics, veterinary medicine, production, animal welfare and the marketplace will address challenges facing the pork industry, animal science and consumers, including porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity.
The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Benton Auditorium, in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State campus.
Iowa Swine Day is open to the public, and especially targets pork producers, pork industry suppliers, Extension personnel, consultants, researchers and veterinarians. Students are eligible for a discount on registration if they are currently enrolled in school. The cost of the meeting is $60, if registered by June 13. The fee includes coffee, snacks, a lunch and a copy of the proceedings. Advanced registration is available here.