Details of a major animal health conference were announced recently by Animal Health Ireland (AHI)   during a meeting with Minister Simon Coveney TD. The conference, which will take place on 22-23 October in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, is entitled ‘Animal Health: A Cornerstone of Sustainable and Profitable Farming’.

At the launch Joe O’Flaherty, CEO of AHI, said: “This is an important event for Animal Health Ireland, falling as it does almost five years after the initial decision was taken to establish the organisation. In this period, AHI has established and is successfully co-ordinating national programmes for the control of mastitis and the eradication of BVD. Work on establishing a pilot programme for the control of Johne’s disease is well advanced and good progress has been made in establishing the technical basis for a future IBR eradication programme.”

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD said “AHI continues to make huge strides in leading and coordinating efforts to tackle a number of production diseases that have been causing substantial income losses on Irish farms. This success is greatly enhanced by AHI’s ability to work in a collaborative manner with key stakeholders with a view to bringing about profitability on farms and at the same time underpinning the growth potential of the Irish agri-food industry.”

The conference programme will comprise a series of presentations and interviews by international keynote speakers: Dr Elena DiLabio will speak on the Swiss BVD Programme, Dr David Kennedy on the Australian Johne’s Disease programme, and Dr Patricia Konig on the German IBR programme. Programme Managers from Animal Health Ireland and Animal Health and Welfare NI will present the Irish experience, and Dr Ken McKenzie (Strategic Planning Director at Publicis Dublin) will examine the area of behavioural change in the context of the CellCheck programme.  Speakers will address the relationship between animal health and profitability and sustainability at farm, processor and market level.

The concluding session at the conference will be an interview session with senior executives across the spectrum of industry, government and research and knowledge extension.