Antibiotic stewardship as an important aspect of Good Agricultural Practices which is important for a sustainable animal production. Prophylactic use of antibiotics is already not allowed under the Farm Assurance Schemes we adhere to in our supply base. Vion is committed to reduce the over-use of antibiotics in husbandry systems to control the development of antibiotic resistance by stimulating Good Veterinary Practices where prudent use of veterinary drugs is the norm and routine metaphylactic use is not practiced. Increasing the robustness of animals by improving their environment is stimulated by feeding back relevant slaughter observations and health information to the farmers and focusing on further animal health improvements at farm level.
Vion encourages limiting the use of antibiotics by coaching individual farmers in order to find an optimal balance between animal health, animal welfare and productivity. To further study this concept, Vion is supporting an EU-funded research project to investigate the potential of precision livestock farming to further reduce antibiotic use. The project started in February 2019.
In addition, Vion is active in the smart pig supply chain project within sector innovation programmes.
Compared to global pork production, the pig farms who supply Vion are far ahead in reducing antibiotic use. The reduction started in 2008 and the use of antibiotics has already decreased significantly (source: CSR report 2022 and www.autoriteitdiergeneesmiddelen.nl). Especially the use of antibiotics critical for men is largely abandoned and the use of other non-critical antibiotics is substantially reduced. The effect of this policy on the reduction of the transmission of antibiotic resistance is also reflected in an international scientific paper that shows that pork of our premises had a negligible effect on the transmission of antibiotic resistance to men.
All animals at all Vion production sites are, without exception, anaesthetised before being bled. All stunning methods used at Vion’s production sites comply with the permitted methods as described in the European regulation 1099/2009. In order to minimise the adverse effects on animal welfare during stunning, Vion is supporting various research projects to further optimise the process of stunning pigs (source: CSR report 2018).
Vion supports the LabelFit project of the Education and Knowledge Center (LSZ) in Boxberg. This is the competence center for pork production in Baden-Württemberg (Germany). For this project we work together with stakeholders from science, industry and associations with the aim of gaining more insight into pork production from the animal welfare label “Für Mehr Tierschutz”. In addition, it is being investigated how pigs with an intact tail can be kept. Vion makes its extensive network and experience from previous projects available for this purpose.
'For More Animal Welfare'
Vion is a member of a task force that developed the requirements of the German label ‘For More Animal Welfare’, with the aim of establishing the criteria as a standard for dairy cows in terms of animal welfare. Vion Beef Germany was the first to have several slaughterhouses certified in August and September 2018 according to the criteria of this label. Since then, Vion has slaughtered dairy cattle from more than 50 companies under this program. Vion is still an active member of this program.