Farmers across Northern Ireland are voluntarily taking the initiative to adopt a system that allows them to record and monitor their usage of on-farm medicines in pigs electronically.
Through the system, called eMB-Pigs (electronic medicine book for pigs), farmers can record all medication administered to livestock and then conveniently access it via the database on an ongoing basis.
Deirdre McIvor, CEO of NI Pork and Bacon Forum, said that the scheme had received the full support of farmers from the very onset with many viewing it as a way of independently demonstrating their medicine usage.
She said: “Northern Ireland’s pig industry is aware of the need for all medicines including antibiotics to be used in a targeted way. This is not only in the interests of the animal’s health and welfare but also makes good business sense as medicines and antibiotics can be a significant cost.
“While using eMB-Pigs to collate medicine records has just become a requirement of Red Tractor’s audit process, Northern Ireland producers have already supported the initiative prior to this demonstrating their progressive attitude to the industry. Producers who have already begun to use eMB-Pigs find it’s a convenient way to keep all medicine records in one place.
“The scheme also underpins NI Pork and Bacon Forum’s ‘Assured Origin’ quality seal which is a guarantee to customers that pork is 100% Northern Ireland produced, governed by the highest animal welfare standards and quality production systems,” she added.
Overall uptake of the system by farmers has already been strong demonstrating the responsible attitude adopted by Northern Ireland’s pig industry and its commitment to ensuring production is pure and traceable from farm to fork.
Over the next few days every farmer in Northern Ireland involved in pig production will receive a further leaflet with more information on eMB-Pigs and encouraging them, if they have not done so already, to take part.
Norman Robson of NI Pork and Bacon Forum and chair of UFU Pigs Committee said: “It’s encouraging to see Northern Ireland farmers have already begun to use eMB-Pigs but I would urge all farmers to log-on and begin recording their medicine records. It’s easy to do and if you have any queries, there’s plenty of help available.”
eMB-Pigs has been developed by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in association with Northern Ireland Pork and Bacon Forum and the Scottish and Welsh levy bodies, through the Pig Health and Welfare Council.
For more information and instructions visit the Pig Hub at www.pighub.org.uk.