A new rule governing livestock that was set to go into effect on April 1st has been delayed.

According to Radio Iowa, a legislative committee has voted to temporarily delay the state rule that would force veterinarians to examine animals they are prescribing drugs for or visit the site where the animals are being raised at least once a year.

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Eldon McAfee is an attorney for Iowa Pork Producers Association.

"By going to a hard and fast time deadline -- within the past 12 months -- affects our facilities quite a bit and we believe the best professional judgment should be respected on behalf of the veterinarians," McAfee said.

Currently, the rule states that there needs to be a timely and medically necessary visit. Iowa Veterinary Medicine Board chairman Dr. Duane Ray said it’s time that the state makes the rules for animal health more rigid.

"To be quite honest with you, I'm a little stunned that the Pork Producers and the Farm Bureau are lobbying against this...The Iowa Veterinary Medicine Association is solidly behind this," Dr. Ray said. "...We have hog producers managing veterinarians. That has to stop."

This rule is going to be especially important if African Swine Fever makes it to the United States. Currently, the disease hasn’t reached the U.S., but there are cases confirmed in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

"If we get African Swine Fever in Iowa, it's going to make COVID look like a walk in the park," Dr. Ray said. "...All swine movement stops for 72 hours. That means the packing houses shut down. All semis stop, so we need veterinarians in the field, familiar with these operations, so we can get this controlled."

He says the board has been negotiating with the pork industry for a year about this new rule.

"One of the veterinarians who represented one of the large corporate swine operations commented: 'There's no way I can physically get to all of my clients in 12 months,'" Dr. Ray said. "My response was: 'Are they really your clients...If you can't get on that farm for 30 minutes in 12 months...or are you just sitting in a corporate office signing script?'”

Republican Representative Mike Sexton from Rockwell City adds that it’s a common practice for semis trucks with pigs to also carry a case of antibiotics to large-scale confinements.

"Those pigs aren't sick," Sexton says. "Nobody's looked at those pigs. We're just going to have a huge, on-hand supply of registered antibiotics that a non-veterinarian is going to be able to administer. That's the problem."

He goes on to add that there was a time he was called to look at a sick calf and found out it was given antibiotics meant for pigs- not cows.

The rule was delayed

The legislature’s Administration Rules Review Committee did vote to delay the implementation of the rule for 70 days. The pork industry was warned that it will be instated in June as it currently stands if good faith negotiations do not happen.


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