The concept of immunological castration (IC) is relatively new to the swine industry, but offers the potential for enhancing pork production. Zoetis is opening a demonstration farm in Greensburg, Ind., whose aim is to help porducers and packers understand how IC can work in pork production systems.
Owned by Larry Rueff, DVM, the 500-head nursery-to-finishing facility, provides a real-world setting for pork producers to see IMPROVEST (gonadotropin releasing factor analog – diphtheria toxoid conjugate) in action.
Gloria Basse, vice president, U.S. Pork Business Unit, Zoetis, explains that IMPROVEST offers pork producers and meat packers a new and more sustainable way to manage the issue of off odors in pork. She also notes: "Because this is so revolutionary, Zoetis is committed to educating people across the entire pork chain to better understand the value that can be gained."
Introduced to the U.S. market in 2011 IMPROVEST had more than a decade of successful, widespread international use in more than 60 countries. This veterinary prescription product, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), uses the pig’s own immune system to temporarily provide the same effect as physical castration, but much later in a male pig’s life. The product expands production options while offering economic benefits favorable to producers.
"We’ve long known about the inherent performance advantages of raising intact males," said Dr. Rueff, a 30-year practicing veterinarian who co-manages Swine Veterinary Services out of south Central Indiana. Dr. Rueff is jointly supporting the demonstration farm by extending the use of an existing livestock barn on his 120-acre corn and soybean farm. "IC technology now allows producers to take advantage of these benefits while still ensuring the same high level of pork quality and great taste consumers have come to expect."
As part of the on-farm experience, visitors will explore important production topics such as pre-weaning mortality, feed efficiency, split sex feeding and nutritional requirements. In addition, visitors will learn about recent research and field data specifically examining the economic benefits of IMPROVEST.
The intact males’ growth efficiencies offer opportunities for optimizing production due to feed savings, reduced piglet mortality and improved market weights.
Through this farm experience, Zoetis hopes to instill confidence that pig performance and meat quality attributes can be maintained through IC technology, which allows producers to deliver a consistent pork supply to U.S. and global markets. It is effective in any production system, as demonstrated by the more than 200,000 IC pigs that have been harvested in the U.S. with IMPROVEST.
Zoetis welcomes visitors to the farm and encourages interested individuals to plan visits around key farm activities. These activities include a two-dose product administration, review of quality assurance protocols certified by USDA and an evaluation of IC barrow market weight characteristics. To schedule a tour, call your local Zoetis representative.
SAFETY INFORMATION: Pregnant women should not administer IMPROVEST. Women of childbearing age, as well as men, should exercise extreme caution when administering this product. Exercise special care to prevent accidental self-injection because of negative effects on reproductive physiology in both men and women. However, there is no risk associated with consuming pork from animals administered this product. IMPROVEST should not be used in female pigs, barrows, or male pigs intended for breeding. Learn more about full Prescribing Information.
ABOUT IMPROVEST: IMPROVEST is an FDA-approved veterinary prescription product that is a safe and effective alternative to physical castration. It is a protein compound that works like an immunization to protect against unpleasant aromas that can occur when cooking pork from some intact male pigs. It uses the pig’s own immune system to provide the same effect as physical castration, but much later in the male pig’s life than when physical castration is traditionally done. For more information on how IMPROVEST works, visit IMPROVEST.com.
ABOUT ZOETIS: Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services.
In 2013, the company generated annual revenues of $4.6 billion. With approximately 9,800 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2014, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 28 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.
Zoetis is the proud sponsor with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together. Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health. For more information, visit Zoetis.com/animal-connections-tour.