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Hayes Opens All Island State Veterinarians' Conference

At the opening of the North South State Veterinary Conference today,  Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes TD, referred to the ongoing successful co-operation between both jurisdictions in the agriculture sector.  He spoke of the value of the agriculture and food sector to the Irish economy and the need to maintain Ireland’s reputation as a world leader in the supply of safe and high quality food and drink products. 

Referring to the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 Minister of State Hayes said “I am very pleased that there is a broad new regime in place for Animal Health Welfare. This brings greater clarity and coherence to the law in this area and reaffirms our proud tradition in the welfare of animals of all species”. 

The Minister said that the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 enshrined the principles of the Five Freedoms for animals and this should lead to an improvement not just in animal welfare, which is a worthwhile end in itself, but on the productive capacity of our farming sector too. The 5 freedoms are

                                                        I.            Freedom from hunger and thirst,  

                                                        II.           Freedom discomfort,

                                                       III.           Freedom pain, injury and disease, 

                                                       IV.            Freedom to exhibit natural behaviour,

                                                        V.            Freedom from fear and distress

According to the Minister, the new enforcement approach reflects the need to intervene early in possible animal welfare situations before they escalate.  He said that “This improves the situation so that the first resort is not the last resort of prosecution”.   He continued that “There is also a system of fixed penalty notices which can be used as an alternative to prosecution in minor cases”. 

The Minister also referred to the many changes that are happening at European level with regard to the modernisation of the meat inspection regime.  “This revision of the meat inspection service by the EU Commission is progressing, with a focus on being more risk based and effective in providing food safety guarantees for the consumer”. 

Concluding, the Minister said: “Modernisation of the meat inspection service will serve to ensure that Ireland maintains its leading position as a producer of food of the highest quality and safety. These high standards will play a substantial role in Ireland achieving its targets under Food Harvest 2020, and in enhancing the economic recovery of this country”.


View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR47/2014 (pdf 730Kb) 

Date Released: 04 April 2014