The challenges posed by Brexit to the veterinary profession and public were amongst the topics under the spotlight at the Veterinary Ireland Annual Conference & AGM today in the Lyrath, Kilkenny.
The Annual Conference & AGM was officially opened by Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine.
David MacGuinness, incoming President of Veterinary Ireland, paid tribute to the role of Temporary Veterinary Inspectors who work in Irish meat plants all over the country, describing them as the cornerstone of the Irish meat export industry. "The TVI inspection certified by veterinary surgeons provides important consumer assurances around animal welfare and food safety. This, together with the excellent herd health and disease control on Irish farms, gives Irish meat products an important edge over our competitors in the global market place," said David.
The Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine stopped recruiting for TVI panels in 2012. At its Annual Conference & AGM in Kilkenny, Veterinary Ireland called on the Department to re-open TVI panels, based on ensuring that the correct operational procedures are in place across all meat plants; and based on offering new Temporary Veterinary Inspectors who join the panel, the same employment terms and conditions as all existing TVIs.
Veterinary Ireland President David MacGuinness also highlighted concerns that a blanket recruitment drive for veterinary surgeons to maintain potential ‘Brexit’ border checks could drain professionals from veterinary practices who provide important services to farmers, pet owners and sectors such as the equine industry. "The future of Brexit is totally unpredictable at present," said David MacGuinness. "If Brexit does occur and border checks of any form are required for animal movement, we would encourage the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine to consider a structure such as the TVI workforce be mobilised, to help permanent Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine officials to carry out their duties."
David MacGuinness explained that a TVI- type structure would alleviate the need for the Department to employ more permanent veterinary staff. "This expert veterinary workforce could work in conjunction with private veterinary practice, reducing the potential drain of veterinary surgeons from important practice work throughout the regions to service the Brexit border checks for animal movement."