Cargill plans to vaccinate 120,000 sows primarily in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma against the H1N1 virus, as company spokesman Mark Klein said to a Minnesota public radio reporter in an interview.
The reporter was following up on a story in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has asked pork producers to consider using the vaccine as it becomes available.
Tyson Foods said it won’t vaccinate its sow herd because its pork segment is not vertically integrated — control of the product from embryo to edible pork products. While Tyson has a small sow herd it still buys most of its pork from independent producers.
The nation’s largest pork company, Smithfield Foods, is still undecided concerning this issue.
Klein said the vaccines given to swine are not to be confused with the human vaccine for H1N1. Cargill made the decision to vaccinate its sows as part of its animal welfare programme and said the shots should have a positive effect on the sows’ offspring in terms of increased immunity.
The pork industry estimates it has lost $5.4 billion since September 2007 amid oversupplies and weaker economic climate. Producers have lost an average of $23 per hog marketed in that time frame, according to the National Pork Producers Council.
The heavy losses prompted Tyson to downsize its local pork group in recent weeks, selling five company-owned farms in Benton and Washington counties, according to Northwest Arkansas’ News Source.
Source: Fleischwirtschaft International