Dairy calves and the agreement struck with temporary veterinary inspectors were highlighted by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle in a speech today, Friday, November 22.

Addressing attendees of the Veterinary Ireland annual general meeting in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, earlier today, the minister spoke about the increase in the number of dairy calves being born as a result of Irish dairy expansion.

Minister Doyle said that the Department of Agriculture is in “ongoing contact with the dairy industry” with a view to planning for next spring’s calving season and the medium term.

“A number of initiatives are being considered, including a need for more integration between the dairy and beef sectors,” he said.

Breeding choices made by dairy farmers must reflect the market requirements for non-dairy replacement stock.

“We hope that industry stakeholders will provide leadership on this issue, and of course, the department will support where it can.”

On the topic of animal welfare in general, the minister said that Ireland’s first Animal Welfare Strategy for 2020 to 2023 will soon be launched.

Turning to the temporary veterinary inspector (TVI) protest which led to meat processor disruption last year, the minister gave an update on the agreement struck:

“Following a long period of negotiations, I am glad to say that earlier this year agreement was reached between the department and Veterinary Ireland on the conditions of engagement of temporary veterinary inspectors in meat plants to undertake ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections.

A call for engagement of new TVIs is well in progress – of the 282 panel positions that were published, to date 100 new TVIs have been offered spaces on panels with more being added as they fulfil requirements.

The minister explained: “It is in all of our interests to ensure that we all meet the obligations as set out in the agreement.

“My officials are engaging with Veterinary Ireland to give effect to the new conditions of engagement and the associated standard operating procedures,” Minister Doyle said.