LINCOLN, NEB. – June 17, 2016. With growing concerns about antibiotic resistance, public perception about the use of antibiotics in food animals has called into question what’s best for the animal and our food supply. On Tuesday, June 28, members of the Nebraska School Nutrition Association meeting in Kearney for their State Conference will hear why responsible antibiotic use is essential to protect animal health and produce safe food. Nebraska Pork Producer Association past president and Hall of Fame Inductee Elwyn Fitzke of Fitzke Farms in Glenvil, Nebraska, will present to conference attendees at 10:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. at the Holiday Inn located at 110 S. Second Ave.
Titled “One Health and Pork,” the speech by Fitzke will explain how animal health and human health go hand-in-hand, and why responsible antibiotic use is a shared commitment by human and animal health professionals, and all farmers who raise food animals, from pigs and chickens to honey bees. “Just as in human medicine, we realize pig farmers and veterinarians play a role in maintaining the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations,” said Fitzke. “Pig farmers are committed to finding new ways to reduce the need for antibiotics and are working with our veterinarians to ensure responsible use.”
Fitzke notes farmers use science-based practices that include proper nutrition, modern barns and disease prevention to keep pigs healthy so they don’t need costly medicines in the first place. “Antibiotics are only used if necessary, with veterinary oversight, to treat sick pigs or prevent illness,” says Fitzke. “It is unethical to withhold treatment.
At the same time, farmers have made pork one of the leanest, nutrient-rich protein choices available, which was confirmed in 2006, when USDA released its study showing pork tenderloin is as lean as a skinless chicken breast. In 2011, pork was also certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food. “I’d like to thank the Nebraska School Nutrition Association for giving me an opportunity to share why antibiotics used responsibly are essential for healthy pigs and safe food.”
Fitzke notes there are 68,000 pork producers in the United States and the industry generates more than a half million jobs and produces more than $21 billion in personal income each year.