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eMB-Pigs now a formal requirement for most Scottish producers

26th Sep 2016 / By Alistair Driver

The vast majority of Scottish pig producers are now formally required to electronically record antibiotic usage on farm.

QMSEntering data in the electronic medicines book (eMB-Pigs) is now a formal requirement for the Quality Meat Scotland scheme, which underpins the Specially Selected Pork brand and covers most of Scotland’s pig production.

QMS said the requirement enabled antibiotic use on both individual farms and across the industry to be monitored and managed. Tighter controls have also been introduced on the use of products in the Critically Important Antibiotic category.

QMS Pig Specialist Allan Ward said: “Scottish commercial pig farmers are very aware of the need for antibiotics to be used in a careful, targeted way.

“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.”

He said 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 the electronic format through eMB-Pigs, developed by AHDB Pork and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), supported by Northern Ireland and the Scottish and Welsh levy bodies.

Red Tractor next

Red Tractor is set to follow suit, after the NPA’s producer group recommended eMB-Pigs should be a requirement of the assurance scheme at its latest meeting in early September. Once the request has been approved by Red Tractor’s pork board, the change is likely to come in next year.

Overall uptake on eMB-Pigs is gradually increasing, as some of the big integrators sign up – the latest figures from AHDB Pork showed data from units covering 5 million pigs had now been entered.

The Government recently published its response it to the O’Neill report on antimicrobial resistance, including confirmation of a target to cut usage across the UK livestock sectors to 50mg/kg by 2018, compared with the 2014 figure of 62mg/kg.

Sector-specific targets are set to be put in place by mid-2017.

NPA chairman Richard Lister said farmers needed to record antibiotic data to demonstrate the pig industry is using antibiotics responsibly and ensure it gets the best possible outcome as the new sector-specific targets are agreed. 

You can see details of the NPA's Pig Industry ntibiotic Stewardship Programme here