Pete Bown takes 2013 David Black Award

Wiltshire-based vet Pete Bown was presented with the 2013 David Black Award at a breakfast ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in London on November 6.

Mr Bown, who retired after 45 years in veterinary practice in July this year, received the award from recently appointed Farm Minister George Eustice.

Accepting the award, Mr Bown, who had worked as a consultant to one of the major breeding firms, suggested a revolution in performance was going to hit the pig industry during the next 10 years.

“The genetic improvements in the pipeline are mind-blowing,” he said. “It will give our producers a fantastic opportunity to sell a quality product with a very good cost of production, provided they pay attention to herd health.”

Looking back on his years in practice, he said: “When I started, disease was easy to manage, then we had a very dark period with Classical Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth and PMWS.

“Now we have much healthier pigs, and provided we remain vigilant I think the industry has huge opportunities.”

When Mr Bown started with what has become the George Vet Group, he was the fourth vet in the practice and they had one pig client. The group now employs more than 30 vets with six pig specialists.

He qualified in Glasgow in 1968, then worked as a locum for a few vets before moving to Malmesbury for what was menat to be one year. He had intended to study for a PhD, but thwn that didn’t work out, he satyed in the Westcountry.

“I became interested in population medicine, so that meant it was either pigs or chickens and pigs had always fascinated me,” Mr Bown added.

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