The logging of antibiotic usage in the industry’s eMB Pigs electronic medicines book is now a mandatory part of life for farmers who are part of the Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) Specially Selected Pork (SSP) quality assurance scheme.
“The requirement for pig producers to maintain a medicine book on-farm has long been in place, but the standards now require any antibiotic use to be carefully logged in an electronic format,” said QMS pig specialist, Alan Ward, adding that QMS assured pig farmers are required to regularly submit their antibiotic use data, allowing the industry’s overall use to be carefully monitored.
In addition to SSP farmers being required to record any antibiotics used in the electronic medicines book, tighter controls have also been introduced on the use of products which are in the “Critically Important Antibiotic” category.
“Scottish commercial pig farmers are very aware of the need for antibiotics to be used in a careful, targeted way,” said Mr Ward. “This is in the interests of an animal’s health and welfare and also makes good business sense as antibiotics can be a significant cost.
“Moves to further improve the targeting of antibiotic use, combined with alternative management techniques, are a win-win all round.”
The vast majority of Scotland’s commercial pig farmers are members of the quality assurance scheme.