The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D., has launched the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy 2017-22.
The Strategy lays out a comprehensive set of actions for all stakeholders in the agri-food industry to work in partnership with a view to optimal animal health in Ireland.
The significance of this initiative must not be discounted. Livestock production is intrinsic to Ireland’s agri-food industry and contributes hugely to the development of our Regions. Healthy animals produce and compete to their best potential.
Prevention of disease minimises financial losses to farmers, the broader agri-food industry and the country. Maintaining Ireland’s reputation for good animal health is vital to securing access to the world’s markets.
At a broader societal level, zoonotic infections in animals and the avoidable use of antibiotics in animals may impact on public health. Less than optimal animal health can also negatively affect the environment.”
On the strategy, Minister Creed has said “This Strategy has identified five high-level outcomes to be achieved. These focus on farm-level productivity; processor outcomes; market access; capacity to protect public health and capability to anticipate threats, mitigate risk and respond. My Department will play a pivotal coordination and leadership role, but the success of the strategy will depend on all stakeholders working together closely”.
The Minister recalled: “In recent years Ireland has made excellent progress with country-free status for Brucellosis and Aujezsky’s disease, control of BSE and a substantial reduction in the incidence of TB. Animal Health Ireland, in partnership with industry stakeholders, is making substantial progress on BVD eradication and in improving milk quality with a focus on Somatic Cell Count reduction through the CellCheck programme.”
Adding, “a new Johne’s Disease Control Programme is being developed and progressed. However, we must be mindful of ongoing threats to animal health, including the emergence of Schmallenberg virus and the resurgence of Bluetongue and Avian Influenza viruses across Europe”.
Minister Creed also launched the National Animal Health Surveillance Strategy 2016-21, one of the actions set out in the Health Strategy.
The Minister said: “Increasing movement of people, animals and animal by-products around the world and changing farming practices mean it is inevitable that diseases are seen in parts of the world where they have never been seen before. Understanding the movement and early identification of threats is vital. The Animal Health Surveillance Strategy provides for the coordination of animal health surveillance activities.”
The Minister also announced funding of €125,000 to support and enable Animal Health Ireland to commence work in the area of pig health.