Brexit poses a threat to the availability of veterinary services to the farming community in Ireland, which could affect the standard of food production, according to the Cattle Association of Veterinary Ireland (CAVI).
Against a backdrop of concern over Brexit and the continuing need for improved sustainability, the CAVI Annual Conference 2019 takes place in the Limerick Strand Hotel this weekend.
The conference, which is held by Veterinary Ireland for livestock veterinarians, was opened on Friday morning by Chief Executive of Dairygold Co-op Jim Woulfe and Veterinary Ireland’s CAVI Chairman Conor Geraghty, who addressed issues that may arise from Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Conor said that due to the uncertainty of Brexit, it is important that the role of Irish cattle vets is not compromised and that there is a possibility of a threat to the availability of veterinary services to the farming community due to movement of vets from practices.
Irish cattle vets aid Irish farmers in managing healthy livestock, while also supporting the high quality of the food produced by the Irish dairy and beef industries through clinical veterinary services; the promotion of best practice and standards; and the vigilance required to protect our national herds from exposure to major disease.
“Both of these veterinary roles – the role of supporting farmers through veterinary practices throughout rural Ireland and the role of supporting our top-quality food standards – are central to the dairy and beef sectors. These industries are a valuable part of the Irish economy,” Conor explained.
“Given the uncertainties of Brexit, it is important to make sure that both of these Irish veterinary roles remain available and that neither role is compromised or adversely diluted by the movement of veterinarians from practices, to new jobs at our border and ports arising from Brexit.
“This could undermine the availability of veterinary services to the farming community and public.”
The other key issue at this year’s conference is sustainability. Jim Woulfe feels it is important to take into consideration the needs of the modern consumer.
“The customer of the future will demand milk that is natural and nutritious, produced in a sustainable environment, from animals where husbandry and welfare are best in class – assembled and packaged in a safe, secure and compliant environment with the entire process underpinned by evidence-based data,” Jim said.
Over the course of the weekend (Friday 18th – Sunday 20th October), 28 experts and veterinarians will be involved in presenting the latest techniques and subjects of interest to over 150 cattle vets, with subjects including antimicrobial resistance, nutritional management and suckler fertility, stabilising emergencies and including surgical techniques, and achieving work-life balance and managing anxiety, stress and overwhelm while working as a veterinarian.