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"They're not a pet, but that doesn't mean we should care for them any less," says Dr. Tara Donovan as she inspects a barn of pigs in Iowa, observing that pigs are raised in better conditions today than when she grew up in her Midwest farm community. While the public may envision livestock animals raised in classic red barns with white trim like a century ago, modern barns and modern care provide piglets with climate-controlled housing and protection from the -15 degree wind chill outside, plus the heat waves and droughts of summer.

"We have a responsibility to the animal, to the pig, to cure and prevent disease," says Dr. Donovan, "But we also have a responsibility to the human consumer, because we're producing a food animal."

Dr. Donovan currently serves as president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Veterinarians On Call is presented by Zoetis.