European Veterinary Week 2009
28th September - 4th October
Animals + Humans = One Health
European Veterinary Week began in 2008 as a means to highlight the important role played by veterinarians not only in safeguarding the health of animals, but also the health of people. The world is becoming increasingly aware of the link between animal and human health and veterinarians have an essential function in the prevention of zoonoses (diseases affecting both animals and humans) and the production of safe food.
State veterinarians are uniquely positioned, due to their involvement with all species of animal and at each step of the food chain, to contribute greatly to the production of safe high quality food and ultimately to the overall health of both humans and animals.
Veterinary Inspectors are present in slaughterhouses throughout Ireland, enforcing the highest food safety standards and the production of safe food. All animals undergo rigorous checks prior to slaughter and all carcasses are inspected after slaughter ensuring the production of wholesome foods both for export and domestic consumption
A key strategy in the protection of human health is the protection of the health of the animals that produce the food we consume. Veterinary inspectors are responsible for many of the safeguards that eliminate potential human health risks from the food chain
The agriculture and food sectors account for almost one third of net foreign earnings on exports from Ireland. Health assurances provided by state veterinarians are essential for facilitating this trade in animals and animal products.
Programmes are in place to eradicate certain specified zoonoses, which pose significant threats to human health, from the animal population in Ireland. State veterinarians are integral to the successful operation of these programmes and are involved at all levels - from the formation of policy to the management of outbreaks on farms.
Some animal diseases, such as foot and mouth, have the potential to decimate Ireland's agricultural industry should they gain a foothold on the island. In the face of an outbreak, rapid and decisive action is required. State veterinarians are engaged in the planning and execution of these emergency responses and routinely run exercises to ensure that Ireland is prepared for any eventuality.
International movement of animals is essential in the modern world. Veterinary inspection protects both the welfare of the travelling animals and also the health of Ireland's animal populations from the introduction of exotic diseases. Here, a guide dog is being identified from an implanted microchip to confirm it's vaccination for rabies.
A society's treatment of animals reflects the ethics of society itself and the humane and responsible treatment of animals benefits both animals and society. The welfare of animals is also intrinsically linked to the production of safe high quality food, as animals held in stressful situations are more susceptible to disease. State veterinarians help to promote and develop production systems that recognise the welfare needs of animals and investigate and resolve animal welfare cases ensuring any unnecessary pain, injury and suffering is avoided, benefitting the individual consumer, the economy and society as a whole.
State veterinary inspectors play a vital role in Ireland's import control system by ensuring compliance with import rules. This ensures that the health of either animals or humans is not endangered by diseased or contaminated imported products.
State veterinary research officers carry out epidemiological investigations, diagnostic testing and post mortems as part of disease investigations providing support for farmers and veterinary practitioners in disease management. Futhermore, veterinary laboratories allows for early detection of exotic diseases, such as foot and mouth, helping to further protect comsumer health and the agricultural economy in Ireland.