A News Release from  The UK Pig Veterinary Society June 2006

David Burch - New President of the Pig Veterinary Society

"New president calls for the retention of therapeutic antimicrobials for veterinary medicinal use"

David Burch, a veterinarian with both practice and industrial experience, takes over the presidency of the Pig Veterinary Society.

He succeeds Roger Harvey a practitioner from Stowmarket, Suffolk and Dr Jill Thomson manager of the Scottish Agricultural Colleges, Veterinary Services, Edinburgh, will take over as president in 2007.

Mr Burch, who has recently been accepted as a Diplomate of the new European College of Porcine Health Management, has worked both in mixed and specialised pig practice, before embarking on a 20 year career in the pharmaceutical industry. There he worked mainly on the development of antimicrobials for use in animal health. For several years he has run his own business, Octagon Services Ltd, a consultancy company for the animal health industry, specialising in the development, registration and marketing of antimicrobial products. He has been a member of the PVS for 30 years and has produced The Pig Journal for the Society since 1998. David Burch - New President of the Pig Veterinary Society

He has actively worked and published on the pharmacology of antimicrobials, how they work and their clinical effects. 'There have been many new concepts recently introduced regarding the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic relationships of antibiotics and their use to increase effective therapy and to try to reduce resistance development.' He is also a visiting lecturer at Liverpool University's Faculty of Veterinary Science in Pig Medicine.

"I am concerned that there will be increasing pressure on the availability of certain classes of antimicrobial for use in veterinary medicine in the future. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have set out their stall and made many antimicrobial families 'critical' for use in man. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have come out with their own list and both agree that the fluoroquinolones, macrolides and third generation cephalosporins are critical for human use (see Antimicrobial Alert). The FDA also banned the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry in 2005, and it is expected that further pressure will be applied to veterinary use of antimicrobials over the forthcoming years, even though it is widely accepted that the majority of antimicrobial resistance problems in man are due to medical use. Antimicrobials are of great importance in veterinary medicine as well, for both companion and farm animals, especially pigs, for their health, welfare and productivity. The problem is where the line will be drawn."

"The health of the national pig herd, which has tumbled in numbers by over 40% over the last few years, is critical to improving our economic performance, to make us more cost-competitive with our European competitors. The Pig Veterinary Society is key to this by helping to spread advances in health management and technology to its members through its regular meetings and continued professional development (CPD) courses. We have also been supporters on health initiatives such as the ZAP salmonella scheme, BPEX slaughterhouse health monitoring scheme and the new NPA/BPEX/DEFRA website-based Pig Health Plan. This programme is to enable producers to record their production and health data and compare them for benchmarking purposes and thereby utilise the resources of their vets, nutritionists and geneticists to identify their production problems and improve their performance. Overall, BPEX have a good health and welfare strategy in place and PVS can help significantly to move it forward."

"The UK pig herd is considered to be kept in the most 'welfare friendly' way in Europe, following the banning of stalls and tethers for dry sows back in the mid-nineties, but it is only now, ten years later that the message is coming across. Now, dry sows are kept in straw yards or outside in fields but this added a burden of extra costs to the industry to make the initial changes and to maintain these conditions. We also do not castrate piglets in this country and wean them later at four weeks of age. Growing pigs also have to have access to straw or other manipulable materials, which sounds ideal, but there can be negative disease impacts as well, such as increased intestinal infections, which can be costly to treat. All these factors add to the cost of production of British Pork, so the message needs to go to the processors, supermarkets and housewives, to support our 'welfare friendly' industry. However, we also need to maintain the high quality of the product we produce and make sure it satisfies the expectations of the consumer with regard to succulence and flavour."

"There are many challenges facing the UK pig industry in the coming years, one of them being the continued availability of therapeutic medicines, but the Pig Veterinary Society will be there to support the pig veterinarian and producer to improve the health, welfare and productivity of our national pig herd."

For further information contact...

David Burch
Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1753 831886


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