AHI looks to further ‘priority work areas’ at 10-year milestone

Additional reporting by Claire Mc Cormack

Additional priority work areas in the dairy and beef sectors are now in the process of being identified by Animal Health Ireland (AHI).

The organisation is celebrating 10 years since it was established with a conference held today, Wednesday, October 23, in the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin.

The past decade has seen considerable change in the industry, with the emergence of new opportunities and challenges, CEO of AHI Dr. David Graham told attendees.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Graham said: “To date, the work of AHI across all its animal health programmes has provided increased income to Irish farmers and industry, lowered our carbon emissions and reduced the use of antibiotics with improved animal health.

As we look forward to the next decade of activity, AHI has already started the process of engagement with primary producers and stakeholders, to identify and address additional priority work areas for AHI in the dairy and beef sectors.

“This will be developed further through consultation with stakeholders in the coming months.

“We have recently appointed a programme manager to oversee a new Pig HealthCheck programme and are also beginning some limited activities in the poultry sector, focusing on biosecurity assessments in broiler and layer flocks,” concluded Dr. Graham.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed also spoke at the conference, noting: “Since its establishment, AHI has led excellent progress in addressing production diseases in Ireland.

The financial benefit of this work has accrued to both Irish farmers and the wider agricultural industry.

The minister thanked all involved in the work of AHI for their dedication and hard work over the past 10 years.

“The challenges of animal health will continue and I look forward with interest to see the results of the recent survey which will inform the work of AHI over the next decade,” concluded Minister Creed.

Chairman of AHI Mike Magan also spoke at the event, adding:

One of the keys to our success has been the scientific input provided to each programme by their respective technical working groups and, where convened, the industry leadership provided by stakeholders through the relevant implementation groups.

The technical working group model is where we get invaluable intellectual contribution, mostly ‘pro bono’ from individuals with specialised expertise in the area of animal health, and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them for their vital contribution.”