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Pig unit opens gates to medical experts
RUMA chair Gwyn Jones said that engaging with the medical VIPs was a ‘wholly positive experience’.

NPA responds to calls for ban on preventative antibiotics

A pig unit in Bedford recently opened its gates to a group of high-profile medics to address concerns about antibiotic use in the sector.

Bedfordia farm’s pig unit is home to some 1,000 breeding sows located on two breeding farms - Arnoe Farm and Highfields farm.

The visit was organised by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) alliance and the National Pig Association (NPA) in response to a letter signed by notable people from the medical profession last year.

The letter directed to the health and defra secretaries of state called for an immediate ‘UK-wide ban on the routine preventative mass medication of animals’. The NPA says the invite to see how pig farming works in practice was a ‘chance to set the record straight’.

"We took them to a large commercial high hygiene unit and while this would be exactly the type of set-up that the ASOA (Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics) would seek to portray as high antibiotic users (indoor fully slatted weaners and finishers),” commented NPA chief executive Zoe Davies. “It was absolutely spotless, very impressively run and a huge credit to the staff.”

RUMA chair Gwyn Jones said that engaging with the medical VIPs was a ‘wholly positive experience’. The visit took the group - which included Dame Sally Davies -  through farrowing to weaning, service and pregnant sows.

The visitors were shown around the family farming business’ newer housing and gadgets. They also saw farrowing crates, older buildings with ACNV systems, and groups of squealing, pregnant sows jostling over automatic feeders.

According to the NPA, Bedfordia farm’s pig unit is a below-average user of antibiotics and has managed to reduce antibiotic use by 80 per cent since 2015. The unit is representative of many pig farms today: a range of new and old technologies, varying infrastructure and its own particular challenges, it adds. 

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Gucci pledges to go fur-free

News Story 1
 Italian fashion house Gucci has announced that it will no longer use animal fur in its designs. Gucci’s president & CEO Marco Bizzarri made the announcement on Wednesday (October 11) at The London College of Fashion.

The move follows a long-standing relationship with The Humane Society of the United States and LAV - members of the international Fur Free alliance. Gucci’s fur-free policy includes mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, karakul and all other species bred or caught for fur.  

News Shorts
Avian flu text alert service launched in Northern Ireland

A new text system to alert bird keepers to the threat of avian flu has been launched in Northern Ireland. The service will enable bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

Keepers who have already provided NI's Department of Agriculture with a valid mobile number have automatically been subscribed to the service and notified by text. Bird keepers who have not yet received a text should text ‘BIRDS’ to 67300 to register.