NPA duo make the case to retain zinc oxide in radio interviews
13th Feb 2017 / By Alistair Driver
NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford and vice chairman Richard Longthorp appeared on Radio Humberside this morning to discuss the situation with zinc oxide.
You can hear their interviews, Georgina's after 1h 7m, and Richard's, on-farm after 2h 20m, by clicking here.
Georgina explaind how zinc oxide was 'very effective in improving the gut health of piglets' during the 'difficult post-weaning period'.
"We estimate it is used in 70-90 per cent of piglet diets so if we were to lose zinc oxide it would affect a big proportion of the pig industry," she said.
In December, the EU Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) recommended zinc oxide should be banned for use in piglet feed, largely due to environmental concerns. The committee is now reviewing the evidence base for its recommendation.
Georgina stressed that the environmental risk of zinc oxide leaching into the environment was lower in the UK than other countries because of different soil types and measures in place to limit this risk. "We are already on top of the environmental risk in this country," she said.
She warned a ban could result in a small rise in the price of pork, as farmers to revert to alternatives, such as antibiotics and expensive vaccinations, or change their management systems.
Interviewed on his farm, Richard gave a detailed explanation about how zinc oxide helps piglets make the transition from mothers' milk to grain-based diets.
He insisted the recommendation by 'Brussels bureaucrats' to ban zinc oxide was 'not science-based'.
He added: "We are making great strides to reduce the amount of antibiotics we use. Without zinc, we would be undoubtedly be forced into using more antibiotics, and using more of the critically important antibiotics for human health.
"What we are after is the best and most welfare-responsible use of medicines across the piece."
Stressing that zinc levels in the soil in the UK were currently well below levels set by Defra, he added: "I am sure most consumers would rather us use less antibiotics but still have good healthy pigs and piglets that aren't dying because we are not allowed to use zinc."