Recently I had a private conversation with a prospective customer on twitter. I was how I go about raising my animals. I was told I should make more people aware, so here's an edited extract from the conversation:
I don't feed antibiotics. The only time I use antibiotics is when an animal is sick. I rarely have a store here and have individual doses made up by our vet. I've only used antibiotics once on a pig; one of the sows nipped her sister and the wound became infected. That was a three day course.
For the lambing ewes if I've assisted in the past, even wearing a long plastic glove, I've given a pain killer and antibiotics. This year I lambed in May and had no reason to assist. That timing will be the norm from now on. Two years back I had ewe prolapse and a vet and I treated her then administered antibiotics.
Is the farm organic?
No. Pig feed would cost an extra £100 per tonne. The price of pork and bacon would have to increase to cover that. I'm not sure where I'd find the customers. It would also rule out supplies of local apple pulp (from an apple juice maker), barley and hops from a micro brewery in town and Yorkshire carrots. All contribute to interest for the pig, and flavour.
The sheep are 100% grass fed. I don't spray anything on the grass. Organic farmers can use drugs. Where I used the painkiller noted above for pregnant ewes, it was the newest drug available and recommended by a pregnant vet! It was expensive but highly effective. That drug wouldn't be available on an organic holding, although they'd have something less effective. The drug never reaches the food chain. And lastly, I'd have to pay a fee to be certified. Transition takes two years; during that time I'd have to be organic without being able to sell at higher organic prices. I've asked both the Soil Association and OFG for help with a commercial justification. Never replied. I had an email dialogue with Helen Browning of the SA. She went quiet when asked about revenue.
There is preventative antibiotic use in the UK, especially in pigs and chickens, but even in sheep. ...pork, chicken, beef and hogget can be farmed well, it comes down to management and access to a market willing to pay for that quality.