Minister McConalogue launches Code of Good Practice for Responsible Use of Antimicrobials on Suckler and Beef farms on European Antibiotic Awareness day

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Collective approach needed to tackle AMR

The Minister for Agriculture in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., has launched the Code of Good Practice regarding the responsible use of antimicrobials on suckler and beef farms. The launch coincides with the start of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, which runs from 18th to the 24th November.

Launching the Code the Minister said ‘‘this Code of Good Practice will serve as a valuable reference for beef and suckler farmers as they work to address the ‘One Health’ challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).’’ He emphasised that the practical strategies outlined in this document highlight some of the important actions that beef and suckler farmers can take to reduce their overall use of antibiotics and to improve their herd health.

The Minister welcomed the timely launch today of the Code on European Antibiotic Awareness Day which is an annual event, and a means of highlighting the continued global concern in relation to AMR. He commented that ‘‘AMR remains a challenge not just for human health, but also animal health, food security and our shared environment.’’

The Minister acknowledged that all stakeholders have an important role in addressing this One Health issue, and as part of today’s launch he particularly wanted to thank the extensive work and collaboration between the Irish Farmers Association, Veterinary Ireland and Teagasc.

The Minister stated that ‘‘under the chairmanship of the Animal and Plant Health Association, the Irish Farmers Association, Veterinary Ireland and Teagasc  have developed a useful  tool for suckler and beef farmers to support the agri-food sector’s work to address AMR.’’

The Minister referenced the continued engagement of stakeholders to address AMR across the human health, animal health,  and environment sectors at a One Health level. He commended the collaborative leadership shown, and actions taken, under Ireland’s national action plan to address AMR (iNAP).

He said the he hoped ‘‘the working in partnership would continue into the development and iteration of the next version of iNAP, and  the implementation of future sector specific actions supported  by the iNAP animal health sector implementation committee, which is chaired by the chief veterinary officer Dr Martin Blake.’’

The Minister concluded by stating that “in order to successfully address AMR the primary goal of the agri-food sector must be to reduce antibiotic usage through maintaining the highest possible standards in animal health, and I would urge our stakeholders to take part in the upcoming Animal Health Awareness Week during which all stakeholders will gain information on how to safeguard their herds and flocks, and the national animal health status of our animals. It is important to understand that we  all have a role to play, and a vested interest in addressing the development and spread of AMR by informing ourselves and following best practice guidance.’’

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine is also hosting a live webinar to mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day today at 2pm.

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