Cyclone Connection: Biosecurity is more important than ever

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Biosecurity is a vital part of raising pigs. In fact, it comes right after animal welfare. Even though we are almost out of the woods for PRRS season, the imminent threat of PEDv is still going strong and the new dangers associated with the coronavirus mean that biosecurity has become more important than ever. Preventing disease and keeping animals healthy are part of making production practices easier for employees and more profitable for employers.

I have now worked for four different hog companies. In each, they have taken biosecurity very seriously. Of course, they have biosecurity health pyramids, which give restrictions from farm to farm. At Pillen Family Farms and DNA Genetics, they also have biosecurity pyramids to help employees remember what biosecurity is for and how to execute it.

The three points in the pyramid are belief, discipline and accountability. Belief is important because one must believe in what they are doing in order to gain the discipline needed to execute good biosecurity measures. Accountability reflects on a person and his or her integrity to get a job done correctly.

There are multiple ways workers can take extra measures to protect farms and pigs. Here is a list of ways I take biosecurity to the next level:

  • Not stopping anywhere before work
  • Having clothes that I only wear to work
  • Taking a thorough shower
  • Washing my car at least once/month
  • Being aware of entrances/exits in the barn
  • Always doing chores youngest to oldest

Another significant role in disease spread is transportation. This includes the truck, trailer and driver. Drivers can have a huge impact on biosecurity. Many farms have diseases because trailers are still infected with disease. Drivers can really make a difference in disease spread by believing, having discipline and being accountable.

Biosecurity is a huge priority now. The pork industry has to step up together and educate all companies and employees on how to correctly execute biosecurity. I understand there is only so much we can do, but if we take the extra steps it could go a long way in protecting our industry. 

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Wm F.    
South Dakota  |  March, 13, 2014 at 09:12 AM

Allison, your opening line says a lot. "Biosecurity is a vital part of raising pigs. In fact, it comes right after animal welfare." In You point directly to a missing link in the swine disease battle. We need to pay more attention to animal welfare in ways that take stress off the animals and strengthen their imune systems. By that I mean, how much gas and odor the pigs endure on a daily basis and how stressed their immune system gets when the room is closed up especially during winter. Yes, we must be completely focused on bio-security - but not by weakening the immune systems of our pigs. When we start to raise our pigs in hospital wards, we weaken their immune system. For example, the only cure for PEDv at this time seems to be feedback. Isn't that the exact opposite of biosecurity. Producers deliberately expose their gestating sows to the disease. That is nature's way. How well have we done since the tremendous push for biosecurity began back in the 1980's - and we closed up our barns and moved the manure to the basement? At least 5 major new diseases have occured since that time. There has to be a connection between in-barn gas and odor stress, and reduced immune response. Let's think about it and see what is missing in our current systems.

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