Real Pig Farming - Veterinarians Have A Hand In Pig And Public Health

posted on Monday, April 3, 2017

Veterinarians Have A Hand In Pig And Public Health

Pete Thomas, DVM, believes that it is important for veterinarians to protect pig and public health.

We all know veterinarians help keep animals healthy. From the pets living in our homes, to the creatures residing in the zoo, to the farm animals raised for food or milk.

What you may not know, is veterinarians help keep people healthy, too. 
Take Dr. Pete Thomas, for example. The director of health services for Iowa Select Farms works hard to keep the pigs at their best but never forgets his role in keeping consumers healthy.

He and his team of four other veterinarians are constantly visiting each of the farm’s barns to assess pigs’ health, administer vaccinations and further develop strategies to keep their animals as healthy as possible. Sometimes, when a pig becomes ill, they need to treat it with an antibiotic. Thomas says despite some of the misconceptions out there, they are careful to utilize such medications effectively and responsibly, always keeping the consumer in mind.

“I think one thing you hear a lot about in the popular press is that antibiotics are abused and overused in pig production and livestock production in general. But that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Thomas said. “We fine-tune our antibiotic use, so it is done at targeted times when we know an animal will need it, and when we know there is going to be a measurable benefit. Then, after we use those targeted antibiotics at specific times, we take great measures to ensure that there is no residue from those products that could still be remaining in the meat that could be harmful or possibly negative to human health.”

Pig health is something Thomas speaks about with great passion, something he says he shares with his coworkers and others who work in the field.
“All of us involved with Iowa Select Farms have either grown up with a livestock background or grew an appreciation for working with animals somewhere throughout our lives or professional careers,” Thomas said. “We take great pride in working with the animals and trying to keep them healthy. It’s enjoyable to be able to go to work and spend time with animals and see the positive benefits that we have — not only for those animals but also for feeding the world.”