IFA National Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has welcomed the launch of the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy (NFAHS) 2017-2022 and the Animal Health Surveillance Strategy for Ireland 2016-2021 by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
Bert Stewart said the principles of the NFAHS ‘working in partnership, acknowledging roles and responsibilities, reflecting costs and benefits and prevention is better than cure’ are key components that must be comprehensively and appropriately included in all animal health programmes. However, he said, the overriding principle that must be recognised is the experience and professional competency of farmers in caring for their animals. These principles must be fundamental elements, not only of future programmes but also core elements of existing animal health programmes.
IFA looks forward to proactively engaging in a meaningful way with the Minister and his officials to ensure these objectives are implemented and delivered for the benefit of farmers.
In relation to the Animal Health Surveillance Strategy for Ireland 2016-2021, Bert Stewart said IFA has consistently identified the importance of the current Regional Veterinary Laboratories (RVL) structures for farmers and the entire agriculture sector as an independent surveillance network. He said the existing RVL network is recognised internationally as the optimum disease surveillance structure.
Bert Stewart the Minister in the upcoming Budget must commit the necessary resources to ensure the existing RVL network is maintained and the service provided to farmers enhanced as a first step in developing the Animal Health Surveillance Strategy for Ireland 2016-2021.