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
The causes of diarrhea in piglets include all three classes of pathogens: bacteria, viruses and protozoa. However, when presented with diarrhea in pigs less than 7 days of age, the list becomes much shorter: Escherichia coli, the clostridial diseases, transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) and now porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus....More
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that it will grant a 90-day waiver of a new hours-of-service rule for truckers hauling livestock and poultry.
Official announcement of the decision was published in the Federal Register on July 11.
As of July 1, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break if more than eight hours have passed since they began service. For drivers hauling livestock, the hours of service would include time loading and unloading animals....More
This week the House of Representatives likely will vote on including the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013,” the so-called Egg Bill, in the 2013 Farm Bill. The bill seeks to put into federal law an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP) to mandate federal egg production standards....More
Even though the cool weather has lingered on, it’s nearly the official start of summer. The cool, low humidity days have been good for people and pigs.
Soon, however, there will be stretches of hot and humid weather to contend with. To help livestock and poultry deal with summer conditions, a new app on heat stress has been developed, according to the Iowa Pork Industry Center....More
At World Pork Expo last week, the Pork Checkoff announced new and improved tools to assist pork producers in evaluating the financial impact of sow housing choices, improving workplace safety, reducing their environmental footprint and identifying problems within breeding stock.
Sow Housing Calculator
A new Sow Housing Calculator will assist producers in making important decisions about remodeling or other facility or management choices on the farm....More
As part of Tyson Foods’ commitment to proper treatment of farm animals, the company Thursday announced the formation of an independent Farm Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel. Members will serve as advisers to the Tyson FarmCheck program, a comprehensive initiative designed to ensure responsible care and overall well-being of farm animals....More
This week the American Meat Institute (AMI) released a video tour of a pork slaughter plant hosted by leading animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University....More
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has provided $150,000 to support two programs in the Iowa State University (ISU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. One encourages budding entrepreneurs to return to rural Iowa and another supports the expansion of swine welfare training.
The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative will receive $100,000 and the animal science department’s applied research in animal care and well-being project will receive $50,000....More
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) have introduced the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013.” This legislation, known as the “egg bill,” would codify the 2011 agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP)....More
Domesticated animals deserve respect and care. That’s animal welfare – and a priority of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), an organization comprised of livestock, equine, poultry and aquaculture producers, producer organizations, veterinarians, extension personnel, academicians, scientists, federal and state regulatory agencies and allied industry. Jim Fraley, Livestock Program Director for Illinois Farm Bureau and co-chair of NIAA’s Animal Care Council, stresses that animal welfare and animal rights, however, are not the same....More
Over objections from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Kentucky Board of Agriculture approved standards Tuesday for the care of farm animals, according to a report by Janet Patton in the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader.
HSUS said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer had promised a public hearing before a vote....More
The Center for Food Integrity and the U.S. pork and dairy industries have launched “See It? Stop It!? Animal care starts with you,” a proactive demonstration of agriculture’s commitment to farm animal care. The initiative empowers, and in fact, demands that if signs of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm are witnessed, anyone working on a farm or in a farm setting has an obligation to report it immediately. ...More
Pork producers are taking visitors on a virtual tour to show how farmers are using technology to protect their pigs and the environment, thanks to new videos on the Pork Checkoff’s new YouTube channel.
“We know the pork industry’s messages resonate when they are delivered by farmers,” says Teresa Roof, public relations manager for the Pork Checkoff. “Farmers have many positive stories to share, and YouTube videos offer a powerful way to share these stories.”...More
Scott Hurd, DVM, is launching a new blog at the Meathingplace.com Web site. According to Meatingplace.com, “The Gentle Vet” blog will be an outlet from which Hurd will provide insight pertaining to medical and animal welfare issues and myths affecting the meat processing industry....More
Transporting hogs to packing plants can produce casualties: 0.27% of groups arriving at packing plants were classified as “subject,” based on an earlier study by Cate Dewey, DVM, University of Guelph in Ontario....More
While the time and effort placed on winterizing hog facilities is well spent, from an economic standpoint, there are probably more reasons to prepare barns for the summer’s heat.
An estimate of the economic loss from heat stress for various U.S. livestock industries, conducted by Norm R. St-Pierre and associates at Ohio State University in 2003, showed the average annual loss due to heat stress was costing the pork industry about $300 million....More
The Intelligence Surveillance System (ISS) from Conception Ro-Main, Inc., was recently awarded the F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production at the 2013 Banff Pork Seminar in Banff, Alberta, Canada. This new technology is designed to significantly reduce energy costs while providing optimal ambient temperature for piglets in a micro-zone area under a specially designed creep cover....More
In a narrative dubbed over a video track of 35 images depicting America’s farmers and ranchers, the late Paul Harvey, in his trademark cadence, delivered the thoughtful message — “So God Made a Farmer” — captured from his keynote address at the 1978 Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention....More
When it comes to the use of antibiotics in pork production, some things boil down to simple logic. We all know that appropriate antibiotic use can keep both animals and humans healthy. We also know that only antibiotics approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are used to treat hogs, and that veterinarians oversee which antibiotics are used to treat, prevent and control swine diseases. Healthy pigs grow better and eat less feed. And healthy pigs are directly related to a safer food supply. Of course, veterinarians work closely with farmers to make decisions on which pigs may need antibiotics to treat or prevent disease. Remember, those antibiotics do come at a cost, which means pork producers focus on preventing the need and expense of using antibiotics unnecessarily in their herds. In spite of this simple logic, we still have wild statements about the amount and intent of antibiotic use in pork production flying around in the news. Sadly, it’s all in the wording. Recent news stories and statements seem particularly designed to incite fear among consumers....More
British pig farmers are challenging food manufacturers, retailers and caterers to give a public commitment that they are not selling illegally-produced meat from farms that are flouting new European welfare legislation outlawing the prolonged confinement of sows in gestation stalls.
They have set up a Web site “Wall-of-Fame-and-Shame,” which will list companies that have pledged to source imported pork products only from farms that are operating legally....More
Fearing arrest under laws pushed by the agriculture industry, animal rights activists have halted undercover camera investigations into animal cruelty in five farm states, including Iowa and Utah where the laws went into effect last year, according to a report from ABC News.
“We are not conducting our investigations in those five states,” says Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, a group whose most recent hidden-camera exposé led to criminal charges against employees at the largest dairy farm in Idaho....More
Two pork producers were among the four winners announced this week by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) for its Faces of Farming & Ranching program, a nationwide search launched in summer 2012 to help put real faces on American agriculture. More than 100 applications were submitted from passionate, dedicated farmers and ranchers across the country....More