An animal health conference later this month, jointly organised by some of the leading organisations in Irish agriculture, will address the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the steps that can be taken to reduce the usage of antimicrobials.

The ‘One Health – Awareness to Action Conference’ will take place at the Tullamore Court Hotel on Wednesday, November 27. It is jointly organised by Teagasc; the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; University College Dublin (UCD); Animal Health Ireland (AHI); and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

The conference is focused on “creating greater awareness amongst farmers and professionals serving the agri-food industry”.

The conference will place an emphasis on “clear concise practical actions” that farmers can take to reduce their use for antimicrobials and anthelmintics.

Teagasc’s Michael Diskin, the chairperson of the conference organising committee, commented: “Antimicrobial resistance is first and foremost a human health issue, but it is also a ‘One Health’ issue as the same classes of antibiotics that are used to treat infections in humans, are being used in our animals as disease treatment options.

“AMR also impacts on our shared environment; from the agriculture perspective, AMR is a major food production and animal welfare challenge, requiring immediate mindset and practice changes,” Diskin added.

The organisers also pointed out that “there are major resistance problems to anthelmintics used on most, if not all, Irish farms”.

The conference will stress that both types of treatment should be used “judiciously” to ensure their effectiveness, the organisers said.

The event will be divided into two sessions. In the morning session, the national lead for the Health Service Executive (HSE) for antimicrobial resistance, Prof. Martin Cormican of National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), will be the keynote speaker.

Also during that session, veterinary consultant Martin Kavanagh will describe the Scandinavian experience of farming without antibiotics. There will be a number of other speakers.

In the afternoon session, there will be six concurrent one-hour sessions, covering the following topics: selective dry cow therapy; responsible prescribing of antimicrobials; calf management and health; biosecurity and dedicated feed for pigs and poultry; anthelmintic resistance in cattle and sheep; and lameness in sheep.

National and international experts will be on hand to give presentations on “the most up-to-date” information on these issues.

Attendance is free, but those wishing to attend must register online. To do so, click here.