The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D, has officially launched the new Animal Health Surveillance website.
In July 2017, Minister Creed launched the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy, which encompassed a number of initiatives including the Animal Health Surveillance Strategy. A key recommendation in the strategy was that a dedicated animal health surveillance website be developed to provide timely and accurate information to relevant stakeholders.
Animal Health Surveillance has been defined as the systematic collection, collation, analysis interpretation and dissemination of animal health and welfare data from defined populations. This process is essentially about gathering intelligence to detect either novel animal health related events or increases in animal health related events as early as possible to better inform risk management at all levels within the industry.
Surveillance is a key factor in protecting, maintaining and improving our animal health status, thereby maximising the economic return for farmers from their animals, while helping to maintain high animal welfare standards.
Speaking at the launch Minister Creed said:
“Today’s farmers need information to manage risk in all aspects of their businesses, including maintaining the health of their animals. Strategies to manage animal health risk include vaccination, strategic dosing for parasites and good biosecurity practices. But to make such decisions effectively farmers must be well informed. To facilitate improving farmer’s understanding of disease risk, DAFM has developed a surveillance website to help ensure that ongoing, accurate animal health related information is provided to all relevant stakeholders”.
The website can also be promoted as a shop-window through which our high animal health status can be appreciated. It allows potential trading partners to develop a positive appreciation of our systems, as well as providing animal health information to our existing trading partners. In line with the goals of FoodWise 2025 and increasing market access to new trade partners, the website has the potential to be used as a marketing tool by Irish trade delegations when promoting Irish produce abroad.
The website, drawn up in consultation with stakeholders, will act as a central repository for information on surveillance activities and disease programmes undertaken in Ireland. This repository will provide the type of information that can be utilised by farmers and veterinary practitioners to help raise disease awareness thus helping to maximise the economic return to farmers from their animals whilst also helping to maintain high standards of animal welfare.
The website can be accessed through the following link http://www.animalhealthsurveillance.agriculture.gov.ie/