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Animal Health / Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine’s has announced that its Animal Health Awareness Week is taking place this year in conjunction with World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), from Nov 18th to November 24th. 

 The first objective of the week is to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring high standards of animal health in order to prevent and control disease for the primary benefit of farmers and pet owners, but also the wider society. The second objective is to raise awareness of the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance primarily impacts on human health, but any use of antimicrobials in either human or animal health will drive the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria. The same bacteria can cause disease in people and animals and the same antimicrobials are used to treat disease in both populations.

 The overarching theme for the week is future sustainability – economic, environmental and social - both in terms of animal health and antimicrobial usage.  A key element of the week is to re-emphasise the importance of the early detection of any new or exotic diseases so that control measures can be put in place promptly, to contain any such outbreaks.  Healthy livestock are critical for economically sustainable livestock production. 


Healthy animals also contribute to environmental and social sustainable outcomes - optimising output per individual animal, thus reducing climate impacts, reducing antimicrobial use, ensuring the production of high quality nutritious safe food and protecting animal welfare. 


The Department will host a series of evening webinars over the course of the week on a number of pertinent animal health topics which will be of interest to farmers, animal owners, their vets and indeed the wider industry and society.  The aim of these webinars is to promote a more proactive approach among the livestock industry to improving animal health and reduce the public health risks posed by AMR and zoonoses.


Commenting Minister McConalogue said, “I would encourage as many people as possible to tune into this series of webinars on issues which are of concern not just to the farming community but the general public.  My staff has gathered a wide array of expert speakers who are really worth listening to, and there will be really useful information shared with attendees”. 


Registration details for the webinars are available on the government website at


The topics in the various webinars are set out in the table below. 



Webinar topics

Nov 18th

Antimicrobial Resistance (coinciding with the start of EU AMR week)

·       Agriculture – leading the way in managing AMR  – James Russell (British Veterinary Association)

·       Responsible antibiotic usage – John Hanrahan (farmer) & Mike Burke (PVP)

·       A Hospital and GP perspectives on AMR – Professor Martin Cormican & Dr Nuala O’Connor

Nov 22nd

One Health focusing on zoonoses

·       Emerging zoonotic threats – Dr Helen Roberts, DEFRA and HAIRS chair

·       Zoonoses in Ireland – Dr Margaret O Sullivan, HSE

·       Emerging zoonotic threat of tick borne diseases – Anneta Zintl, UCD

·       Zoonotic disease in family pets – Ciara Feeney, Ark Veterinary Group

Nov 23rd

Herd Health, highlighting the importance of proactive herd health planning in maximising health and minimising AM usage. 

·       Bulk milk testing as a herd health management tool – Ailish Moriarty, Nuffield Scholar

·       FARM vet champion programme – Dr Fiona Lovatt, RCVS clinical lead

·       Benefits of selective DCT for dairy farmers – Finola McCoy (AHI)

·       Future parasitic challenges at farm level – Dr James O Shaughnessy, CVRL

Nov 24th

Emerging disease threats

·       FMD in Northern Ireland in 2001 – Dr Philip Robinson, Harper Adams

·       One Health team effort of COVID modelling – Professor Simon More, CVERA

·       Threat of Bluetongue – Sunita Jeawon, NDCC

·       Biosecurity lessons learned from LPAI – Dr Damien Barrett, NDCC

·       A family’s experience with AMR – Mike Magan, AHI

·       ASF preparedness – Gemma Daly DAERA