DES MOINES, IOWA – Nov. 14, 2017 – America’s 60,000 pig farmers continue to make progress in their quest for superior antibiotic stewardship to help protect people, pigs and the planet. On their behalf, the National Pork Board is pleased again to celebrate U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Antibiotic Awareness Week with organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Click here for related infographic.)
“This week of antibiotic awareness is a good time for those of us in the pork industry to reflect on our long history of accomplishments with antibiotics, such as using these medications responsibly and embracing the updated Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) certification program,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “As pig farmers, we are aware of issues such as antibiotic resistance, and we are dedicated to working hard to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, both on the farm and in human medicine.”
This year, the CDC changed the name of its educational outreach to Be Antibiotics Aware. The national effort focuses on how everyone can help fight antibiotic resistance and improve antibiotic prescribing and use. The agency says while antibiotics save lives, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. The CDC estimates at least 80 million antibiotic prescriptions each year are unnecessary for human patients, which makes improving antibiotic prescribing and use a national priority.
“Antibiotic resistance is a public health issue with numerous contributors across human, animal and environmental health,” said Heather Fowler, D.V.M., director of producer and public health with the National Pork Board. “Because of this, pig farmers understand the key role they and their herd veterinarians play as part of the overall One Health, multi-disciplinary approach to antibiotic stewardship.”
Fowler believes ongoing collaboration with academia, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations is the best way to move forward in solving the complex global issue of antibiotic resistance. As examples, she points to yet another revision to long-time programs such as PQA Plus to focus even more on antibiotic stewardship. She also noted the Pork Board approving a Checkoff investment of more than $6 million for antibiotic-related studies since 2000, which includes novel work on antibiotic usage standards and…