June 2015

National Pork Board Position on Antibiotic Use in Pork Production

America’s pig farmers have always been dedicated to raising healthy animals to help ensure a safe food supply. The use of antibiotics as part of an overall herd health plan is important to delivering on this commitment. Pig farmers recognize the critical importance of using antibiotics responsibly in animals and humans to protect the health and well-being of both as they strive to reduce the overall need for antibiotics and maintain the efficacy of them for future generations.

The National Pork Board, through its Pork Checkoff, supports objective, scientifically rigorous studies and risk assessments to help farmers make informed decisions regarding use of antibiotics in food animals and to build upon efforts to continuously improve antibiotic use best practices. The Board also supports veterinarian oversight and best practices, as outlined in the long-established Pork Quality Assurance® Plus certification program, promotes education as an essential component of antibiotic stewardship and strongly encourages compliance with all regulatory requirements.

America’s pig farmers are committed to advancing knowledge that benefits people, pigs and the planet. This includes addressing concerns about the emergence of antibiotic-resistance in both animal and human medicine. For this reason, the National Pork Board is expanding its collaboration with veterinarians, food-chain partners and government agencies to develop a comprehensive, fact-based approach that aligns with its farmers’ key values.

National Pork Board Policy on Antibiotic Use in Pork Production

On behalf of America’s pig farmers, the National Pork Board has created the following values that reflect farmers’ commitment to using antibiotics responsibly on the farm. We affirm that:

  • Using antibiotics responsibly in animals and humans is essential to protect the health and well-being of both.
  • Preventing disease, rather than treating disease, by using disease-prevention strategies, that may include antibiotics, is essential for animal health and well-being and can prevent unnecessary illness, suffering and mortality.
  • Protecting the efficacy of antibiotics is important today because it can help ensure the overall health and well-being of future generations of people and animals.
  • Reducing the need to use medically important antibiotics by using best management practices is a worthy objective.

We agree to implement the following guidelines to demonstrate our values. They include:

  • Advocating objective, scientifically rigorous studies and risk assessments to make informed decisions regarding on-farm use of antibiotics in food-animal production.
  • Supporting veterinarian oversight and best practices as the basis of antimicrobial use decision-making on the farm.
    • Continual evaluation of treatment programs, appropriate diagnostics and timely interventions are important components of veterinary best practices.
  • Promoting stakeholder education to continually enhance on-farm knowledge to improve antibiotic best practices.
    • Antibiotic stewardship guidance for veterinarians and pork producers includes Pork Quality Assurance® Plus, American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ Basic Guidelines of Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials in Pork Production and continuing education for veterinarians.
  • Demonstrating compliance with all regulatory requirements to underscore antibiotic stewardship, e.g., treatment records as described in PQA Plus®.
  • Encouraging transparency and providing assurances regarding farmers’ commitment to raising healthy animals to help ensure a safe food supply.