More in Animal Well-Being

  • Nov 1, 2013

    When Bad Videos Happen to Good Pork Producers

    Ugh, another undercover video.” I think this was a common sentiment in the pork industry this week as the Mercy for Animals organization released undercover video claiming to show animal abuse in a pork production facility. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was only too happy to promote the release of this video. And the Mercy for Animals organization was once again very open about this being another attempt at blackmailing a major retail chain into discontinuing the purchase of pork raised on a farm that used gestation stalls. Like it or not, pork producer and current president of the National Pork Producer’s Council (NPPC) Randy Spronk became collateral damage in an ongoing war—ultimately against meat consumption....More
  • Sep 13, 2013

    Have You Thanked Your Local Vet School or Diagnostic Lab Today?

    While looking over some of the headlines from the past week, it occurs to me that most pork producers are probably only one disease outbreak away from developing a healthy appreciation for their local vet school or veterinary diagnostic laboratory. As a child, I remember watching in complete fascination when our vet would come to our farm to “post” (conduct a postmortem) on a pig. I also remember hearing phrases like, “We’ll know more after we send this sample to Brookings.” South Dakota pork producers like my father have been lucky to have a resource such as the South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, located in Brookings, SD, at their disposal over the years....More
  • Aug 20, 2013

    Announcing National Hog Farmer's New Blueprint App

    National Hog Farmer now offers the wealth of information contained in the popular Blueprint Series in a new app designed for both tablets and smartphones....More
  • Chipotle Burrito.
    Aug 16, 2013

    Battling Antibiotic Misconceptions

    It’s been another week where antibiotic issues were prominently featured in the news. Perhaps you saw the news release from the Chipotle restaurant chain? The company says it is evaluating its policy when it comes to allowing the use of antibiotics to treat sick animals that may be in the company’s supply chain. Chipotle acknowledges that there are times when the company simply cannot obtain meat from animals that have not been raised completely antibiotic-free. When this situation occurs, Chipotle posts signs to let customers know that substitutions have been made. I’ve seen these signs in my local Chipotle....More
  • Aug 9, 2013

    Learning from Other Countries about Antibiotics, Sow Stalls

    The United States is not the only country wrestling with issues, such as use of both antibiotics in livestock production, and gestation stalls. This week Scott Hurd, DVM, associate professor and director of the Food Risk Modeling and Policy Laboratory at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, makes some valid points about the “rest of the story” after Denmark banned preventive and growth-promoting antibiotics for pigs in 2000. “In over 20 years of food safety research, I have seen quite a few antibiotic-free (ABF) animals, including the famous pigs in Denmark,” he writes in his “Hurd Health” blog. “While working in the processing plant, I could often tell when ABF pigs were coming down the line. The animals from the ABF farms usually appeared somewhat unthrifty. Often there was less uniformity in carcass size and more ‘issues.’”...More
  • Agricultural advocates called out Panera Bread over misleading advertising.
    Jul 26, 2013

    Misleading Antibiotic Messages and Advocating for Agriculture

    The August issue of National Hog Farmer is devoted to the topic of analyzing antibiotic use. As we’ve been putting the finishing touches on our stories this week, the topic of antibiotics in agriculture has been swirling in social media circles once again. Perhaps you have been following the Twitter and Facebook conversations involving a recent Panera Bread advertising campaign professing (via a chicken character shaped like a medication capsule and a graphic depicting a barn made out of pills) that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. The take-home message is that antibiotic-free chicken is the way to go—along with a false implication that antibiotics are commonly found in meat. In a testament to the importance of agricultural advocacy, Carrie Chestnut Mess, a dairy producer who blogs as Dairy Carrie, created a blog post entitled, “Dear Panera Bread Company.” Minnesota pork industry blogger and agricultural advocate Wanda Patsche followed suit in her own blog. The posts started a social media backlash against the misleading advertising campaign and ultimately, got the attention of Panera management....More
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