Antibiotics help prevent and control swine disease which results in a healthier food source, according to Howard Hill, DVM, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) board member and recently-elected NPPC vice president. Hill is also director of animal well-being for Iowa Select Farms, an Iowa-based pork production company.

Antibiotics are used to treat sick animals, prevent and control disease as well as promote growth, according to Hill. “While the growth promotion component is delivered in the feed, we also have other very necessary uses of antibiotics including treatment, control and prevention of disease.”

According to Hill, studies indicate that controlling and preventing disease yields a healthier animal and a healthier meat source. “We think that is very important to distinguish.”

The pork industry’s ‘Take Care – Use Antibiotics Responsibly’ program includes responsible use principles and guidelines that pork producers and their veterinarians use together to better manage the use of antibiotics. Developed by the National Pork Board, the program has three main objectives for pork producers:

  1. To educate producers about the responsible use of antibiotics.
  2. To raise producers’ awareness of the importance of using antibiotics responsibly and the impact of this on animal and public health.
  3. To demonstrate to customers and consumers, pork producers’ commitment to preserving public health, animal health and animal well-being through the responsible use of antibiotics.