Forms of stockbreeding in Japan have expanded and changed as a result of policies in reaction to international competitiveness and intensive management.
“Effective utilization of unused resources” and “scale enlargement” are our answer to international competition.
Yet, scale enlargement and expansion incur various disadvantages
“High risk of epidemic” and “difficulties in individual health management and maintenance” are the two main challenges for us from a veterinary perspective.
For instance, epidemic factors (viruses and bacteria) can invade big farms. There are lots of opportunities for livestock to increase these factors themselves. “Which has a higher risk of disease: urban or rural environments?” is essentially the question we are asking.
All of our staff have to be aware of these factors at all times, as well as know how to respond accordingly.
The 2010 foot and mouth disease outbreak in Miyazaki Prefecture is still fresh in our minds. At that time, we ran a 3-stage disinfection regime and restricted many aspects of our ranch just two hours after the Ministry of Health had announced the disease. It was around this time that the company really came together, as all the farms within the Honkawa Group implemented 24-hour surveillance and thorough disinfection to overcome this disaster. At the time, some thought this was a hypersensitive reaction, but it was later evaluated that this was in fact good crisis management.
Due to industrial advances in agriculture, requirements for livestock veterinarians are constantly changing. Of course treatment is important, but also preventing livestock from becoming, reducing operating losses and risk, production of better livestock products (food and others), and improving management are just as important.