Brexit a key concern as cattle vet conference kicks off in Limerick

Against a backdrop of Brexit and the continuing need for improved sustainability, the Cattle Association of Veterinary Ireland (CAVI) Annual Conference kicked off earlier today.

A key message noted on the occasion was the need to ensure that the key roles performed by vets are not “compromised or adversely diluted” through movements of surgeons from practices to border roles as a result of the UK’s impending departure.

Conference opening

Hosted by Veterinary Ireland, the event will take place in the Limerick Strand Hotel, Co. Limerick from today, Friday, October 18, to Sunday, October 20.

The conference was officially opened by Jim Woulfe, chief executive of Dairygold Co-op and Conor Geraghty, Veterinary Ireland’s CAVI chairman.

They also both participated in a panel discussion on ‘Dairy Practice 2025’ joined by Doreen Corridan from Munster Bovine and Finbar Mulligan, associate professor of Animal Nutrition at the School of Veterinary Medicine, UCD.

Woulfe highlighted that 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”.

This, he added, needed to be assembled and packaged in a safe, secure and compliant environment with the entire process underpinned by evidence-based data.

Dual roles

Geraghty said that the veterinary conference highlights the diverse and important role that Irish cattle vets play in helping Irish farmers to manage healthy livestock – but also supporting the high quality of the food produced by the Irish dairy and beef industries.

This, he said, needs to be done through: clinical veterinary services; the promotion of best practice and standards; and the vigilance required to protect Irish 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,” said Geraghty.

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 chairman warned.