Vets support animal remedies laws

Ireland: Veterinary Ireland strongly supports the view of the Department of Agriculture and Food that animal remedy prescriptions should only be issued by a veterinarian, and under specific conditions.

It maintains vets should only prescribe for animals under their care and there should be a “bona fide” relationship between practitioner and client.

Veterinary Ireland said the proposed animal remedies legislation under review by the Department can protect the interests of consumers and farmers.

In a paper presented to the Department, it stated maintaining public health standards and competitiveness at farm level can be compatible.

Frank O’Sullivan, president, said the draft legislation will minimise exposure to short-term food safety risks.

Veterinary Ireland’s submission gives an overview of what it regards as some of the key public health risks arising from incorrect use of animal health medicines in food producing animals.

It states the issue of antibiotics and resistance has major implications for people, and warns about the emergence of zoonotic pathogens with multiple resistant genes, and the risk of transference to human pathogens.

Mr O’Sullivan said Irish vets are aware of the risks and have been guided by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe principles on the prudent use of antibiotics.

Peadar Ó Scannáill, chairman, Veterinary Ireland’s Animal Remedies Committee, said health and safety is a huge responsibility. Ireland has an excellent reputation abroad for food exports, he said, and any future legislation must protect this status.

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