Whatever happens post-Brexit, you won’t find us reaching for growth hormones

It’s a useful thing, I find, to have someone to blame occasionally; like the dog, a husband or a politician.

When our digital radio stopped being digital, I initially suspected sabotage by Cameron as it would only tune into sport on 5 Live. He responded by blaming the cat.
Marital harmony was restored when we agreed to blame Trump, Putin, or both, for hacking our radio to deny us Radio 4.

Fortunately, Radio 4 returned after some retuning, just in time to hear a discussion on Today on the impact of a US trade deal on agriculture.
“Yes,” said the US official. “We would like to open up the market for meat products. Yes, we allow the use of growth hormones, but our research shows Americans have been eating it safely for years.”

Next up was an NFU spokesman, uncomfortably sitting on a particularly spiky fence. He tried to explain that he wanted a level playing field for UK farmers and that we would be at a competitive disadvantage because of lower standards and hormone use in the US.
While shying away from endorsing US farming methods, he didn’t want to say he was against them. That left the interviewer somewhat baffled, as he clearly expected the NFU bod to be opposed to the use of hormones. It baffles me too.

“We need to trumpet our differentiation and not imply we will grab the tub of hormones the moment Brexit is a done deal”

Late last year, the lovely and patient Kate, from AHDB, came to the farm and helped me get our 2015 antimicrobials information onto the eMB-Pigs database.
I have to confess, I let off a certain amount of steam (none of it personally to Kate, I should add). I support the aims, I want antibiotics to work for those who need them, but the way they want to collect the data made my head hurt.
The eMB wants reasons for the use of each drug and the age group treated. This data is wonderful stuff – if it could be uploaded accurately and quickly. But who, of our extensive office staff (me, and two bored dogs), is going to collate this information? And will it be anything more than a simple summary?

I pride myself on the accuracy of my figures; but if it’s an estimate – say it’s an estimate, don’t make it look more accurate than it is. Rant over. I will try to get the 2016 data on eMB as soon as possible.

As for the other issues facing pig farmers today: yes, we are trying to reduce our use of antibiotics, we will trial the removal of zinc and we try to reduce energy use, protect our soil and water and love our cuddly wildlife (we really do) – I think that’s what our customers want.
We need to trumpet (pun intended) our differentiation and not imply we will grab the tub of hormones the moment Brexit is a done deal – why would anyone bother buying British?

Now, the Wi-Fi has gone down, so I can’t access eMB, eAML or e anything else. I blame the cat, Vladimir!

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