The National Pork Board celebrated global One Health Day on Nov. 3 by reaffirming its commitment to its core value of doing what’s right for the overall health of people, pigs and the planet.
“We have a proud history of raising pigs in ways that go beyond simple animal health and that are mutually beneficial to human and environmental health,” said National Pork Board President Jan Archer, a pig farmer from North Carolina. “We see One Health Day as a good time to reflect on our accomplishments, such as using antibiotics responsibly and embracing the updated Pork Quality AssuranceSM Plus certification program.”
As upcoming mandates from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) will ban the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in food animals on Jan. 1, 2017 and require increased veterinarian oversite of antibiotic use, Archer said consumers can be assured that America’s pig farmers are committed to antibiotic stewardship, animal well-being and food safety.
“We are always looking for ways to do what’s right for our animals, our consumers and our environment,” Archer said. “We want people to know that we’ll continue to do our part as we seek new ways to reduce the overall need for antibiotics. At the same time, we need to retain antibiotics as essential tools for veterinarians and farmers to help continue to raise healthy livestock and produce safe food.”
More than $6 million in Pork Checkoff funds have been invested in antibiotic-related research since 2000, and the National Pork Board has also spent $750,000 this year in five research priority areas specifically aimed at reducing antibiotic resistance and finding antibiotic alternatives.
U.S. pig farmers have also made great strides on the environmental front over the past 50 years as demonstrated by the findings of a study conducted with the University of Arkansas. The study found that pork’s carbon footprint decreased 35 percent per pound of pork produced, along with a 41 percent decrease in its water usage and a 78 percent decrease in its land footprint.
“When it comes to demonstrating leadership in the area of One Health, it’s clear that American pig farmers are doing more than talking about it,” said Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board. “In terms of collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams and with other industries, our farmers are helping lead the conversation on tough topics, such as how to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria while preserving these valuable tools for responsible on-farm use.”