Controlling and using drugs on breeding farms

Correct animal husbandry and biosecurity are top priorities at Fumagalli’s breeding farms.

Pigs, just like any other animal, can fall ill. Today the regulations governing the use of drugs, including antibiotics, in the pig breeding industry are extremely restrictive. Only authorised drugs are allowed and those where we know how long it takes for the animal’s body to eliminate them, so we can be sure the meat on our tables has no harmful traces of drugs.  Drugs are only administered when strictly necessary and upon authorisation of a vet and are recorded in special registers which are regularly checked by the local health authority, thus guaranteeing drug surveillance. If required, the vet’s prescription must indicate the code of the farm. Local authority vets also take samples from the animals and their feed to make sure they are not carrying diseases which can be transmitted to humans and that they have no harmful traces of drugs or environmental contaminants.
In abattoirs in Italy, official vets check on the live animals before they are slaughtered to ensure they are healthy, and inspect the meat and organs afterwards. If everything is in order, the meat is marked with a special health stamp indicating where it was produced and destined for human consumption. Today, on farms in the Fumagalli Group, antibiotics, for example, are only administered when the animals have full-blown symptoms. A medical report and analysis are produced by the Zootechnical Institute which supplies the antibiogram, a test to establish if a bacterium is sensitive to a certain antibiotic, indicating the most suitable and least invasive course of therapy.
“We have never subjected our animals to continuous drug treatments – explains Pietro Pizzagalli, head of the breeding centres – neither have we chosen to give antibiotics as a preventative measure. In our next organic supply chain, to avoid the use of drugs, we will be using a group of sows from our breeding farms which are already completely immune to all diseases which pigs typically suffer from”. On Fumagalli breeding farms “to keep the use of antibiotics to an absolute minimum – explains Pizzagalli – we focus on prevention, through correct animal husbandry and biosecurity”.