Veterinarians are a crucial component of the pork industry’s responsible use of antibiotics, according to Liz Wagstrom, DVM, chief veterinarian, National Pork Producers Council. The comments were made recently on Agri-Talk radio with host Mike Adams.

“Pork producers use antibiotics very carefully,” says Wagstrom. “They have veterinarians involved in their decision-making and use antibiotics at strategic times… to produce a safe and wholesome product”, says Wagstrom.

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration regulates antibiotic withdrawal so there cannot be unsafe amounts present when animals go to market, according to Wagstrom. “We feel very strongly that judicious use of antibiotics in animal production is actually a public health benefit; we’re producing safe and wholesome pork because we are able to keep our animals healthy.”

Wagstrom addressed attempts of some people who accuse the livestock industry of being irresponsible with antibiotics instead of taking better care of animals.  “It’s a misconception of those who like to scare people and it’s a long ways from reality.”

“Producers measure all inputs, including antibiotics, very carefully,” according to Wagstrom. “Today’s modern pork production methods allow producers to use less antibiotics than in the past.”

Wagstrom says today’s pork producers are involved with Pork Quality Assurance Plus - an education and on-farm assessment program- which requires a veterinarian to be part of an operation’s management team.