When you walk into a hospital, the first thing you do is wipe your hands down with hand sanitizer, right? Well, essentially, that’s biosecurity.
The reason you use hand sanitizer when you go into a hospital, is so you don’t bring in new bugs into the hospital. As pig farmers, we take the same sort of steps to insure that our pigs stay healthy and no new bugs or illnesses are brought into the barn.
Most pig farms require that you shower in before entering the barn. By removing all outside clothing, showering and putting on clothes that do not leave the barn, means that the chance that new bugs or diseases will enter the barn is low. It’s very important that anyone entering the barn shower and change into barn clothes, whether they have been around pigs before or not.
Another step in our biosecurity protocols is that all vehicles must park at least 15 feet from the perimeter of the barn. This also helps keep any bugs or dirt that may have been picked up by tires on the roadway, away from the barn. Vehicles that have been to another pig barn are recommended to be washed prior to visiting just as an added step of protection.
One last very important step that all visitors must take, is signing into the barn and guaranteeing they have not been around any other pigs within the past 48hours. By waiting 48 hours, it ensures that any bugs you may have brought from another barn are no longer lingering on your skin. It’s also very important that you do not wear any clothes that you may have worn to another barn.
Besides all the steps that we as people take to ensure proper biosecurity in the barn, we also need to worry about what animals & rodents are bringing into the barn! No cats or dogs are allowed in the barn, because unlike people, they do not follow all our biosecurity protocols each time they enter the barn! We set and bait rodent traps on a regular basis, as rodents are a major carrier of disease (no one said they couldn’t go in that pig barn down the road this morning before coming to visit us!).
By having such strict biosecurity, we as pig farmers can be sure that we keep the pigs as healthy as possible. No farmer likes to give their animals medication, and the best way to keep from doing that is preventing illness in the barn in the first place. Prevention is key to healthy animals! Even with such strict biosecurity, most pig farms welcome visitors, so long as you follow all biosecurity protocols.