Frequently Asked Questions
- Do pig farmers undergo any training in their profession?
- How do I know that my pork is safe and free of antibiotics?
- Should I be concerned about antibiotics and added hormones in my pork?
- Do pig farmers use antibiotics?
- What is biosecurity and why is it important?
- What do pigs eat?
- What is a factory farm?
- Why are pigs raised in barns?
Do pig farmers undergo any training in their profession?
Farmers are dedicated to providing the highest animal care and producing the highest quality food possible. Because of these commitments, farmers want to demonstrate the best possible practices on their farms. Like consumers, they too need to provide their families with nutritious food.
Pig farmers actively engage with the scientific community, government agencies and food chain partners to create credible programs and stringent policies that advance pork safety, such as:
Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) – a one of the pork industry’s most successful efforts and a model program in animal agriculture. Through PQA Plus, farmers leverage best practices in food safety, animal care, public health, worker safety and the environment. They also participate in on-farm assessments to identify strengths and enhancement areas.
Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) – helps pig transporters, farmers and handlers understand how to handle, move and transport pigs, as well as the potential impacts on pig well-being and pork quality.
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How do I know that my pork is safe and free of antibiotics?
Food or milk from animals that have been treated with an antibiotic will not enter the food supply until a predetermined amount of time, known as a withdrawal period, has elapsed since the animal’s last dosage.Back to Index
Should I be concerned about antibiotics and added hormones in my pork?
No. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not permit the use of added hormones for growth promotion in pork production. Furthermore, farmers work with veterinarians to ensure they’re using antibiotics responsibly when necessary, and pork entering the food system is tested and confirmed safe. Pork producers and veterinarians are committed to protecting public health, animal health and animal well-being through the responsible use of antibiotics.Back to Index
Do pig farmers use antibiotics?
Pig farmers practice responsible antibiotic use. Farmers work closely with veterinarians to ensure that their pigs stay healthy. However, at times, pigs need medical attention, which may require the use of antibiotics to treat illness. There are three main reasons for using antibiotics in pig production – to treat sick animals, to reduce the spread of illness, and prevent future illness.Back to Index
What is biosecurity and why is it important?
Biosecurity is the method of preventing human germs and disease from entering barns and infecting herds of animals. Pigs can very easily contract illness or germs carried by humans – which is why biosecurity practices are so important. Each time a farmer, veterinarian, or other visitor enters a pig barn, they are required to take a shower before coming into contact with pigs. By following these practices, farmers are able to keep germs and illnesses from entering their barns – ultimately keeping their pigs healthy and safe!Back to Index
What do pigs eat?
Most pigs in Ohio are fed corn and soybeans which is supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Contrary to popular belief, pigs don’t eat table scraps (slop). A pig’s diet, or ration, is carefully calculated by a nutritionist. Due to research and our understanding of the animal’s needs, often times gilts (females) and barrows (males) are fed special rations to adapt to their lifestyle.Back to Index
What is a factory farm?
Although the term factory farm is commonly used, the majority of farms in Ohio – large or small scale – are run by farm families. Ohio ranks 8th in pork production in the nation.
Many family farms have chosen to incorporate as part of their business plan. However, family members are the ones that make business decisions and handle the day-to-day responsibilities on the farm.
There are many resources needed to raise pigs, such as: land, corn, soybeans, technology and labor – which means that barns and farms are bigger than they used to be. However, today’s developments in technology have enabled farms to be more efficient overall.Back to Index
Why are pigs raised in barns?
Barns protect pigs from extreme temperatures and wild animals. In Ohio, cold, snowy and icy winters can be hard on animals. Heat can also be stressful in the summer. Barns are equipped with furnaces for cold weather and fans, misters and other cooling devices for hot weather. Having control over the temperature inside the barn enables farmers to maintain a consistent temperature range so the pigs are always comfortable.
Keeping pigs healthy enables us to limit disease and the use of antibiotics. Barns are also a barrier from rodents, which may carry disease. By raising pigs in barns, farmers are able to keep their animals healthy and comfortable all year long.Back to Index