IVJ Feb 2008.indd

Irish Veterinary Journal Volume 61 Number 2

A case for increased private sector involvement in Ireland’s national animal health services

Simon J. More Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine

University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland Email: Simon.More@ucd.ie

Non-regulatory animal health issues, such as Johne’s disease, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and mastitis will become increasing important, with ongoing globalisation of markets in animals and animal products. In response, Ireland may need to broaden the scope of its national animal health services. However, there have been concerns about the respective roles and responsibilities (both financial and otherwise) of government and industry in any such moves. This paper argues the case for increased private sector involvement in Ireland’s national animal health services, based both on theoretical considerations and country case studies (the Netherlands and Australia). The Dutch and Australian case studies present examples of successful partnerships between government and industry, including systems and processes to address non-regulatory animal health issues. In each case, the roles and responsibilities of government are clear, as are the principles underpinning government involvement. Furthermore, the roles and responsibilities (financial and otherwise) of the Dutch and Australian industry are determined through enabling legislation, providing both legitimacy and accountability. There are constraints on the use of EU and national government funds to support non-regulatory animal health services in EU member states (such as Ireland and the Netherlands).

Irish Veterinary Journal Volume 61 Number 2 92-100, 2008

Key words: animal, funding, health, industry, veterinary

Introduction The quality and safety of Irish agricultural product will become increasingly important, if Ireland is to remain competitive in a global trading environment. Animal health is an important contributor to on-farm profitability,

as well as food quality and safety, and the international competitiveness of livestock and livestock products. The health status of the national herd, now and into the future, is an important issue for consideration. Animal health services have both local and national components. This paper specifically focuses on national animal health services, which encompasses the systems (including organisations and infrastructure) and processes (for example, policy development, programme formulation and delivery) that facilitate national coordination of efforts towards improved animal health in the national herd. In the past 12 months, there has been growing interest in the work of Ireland’s national animal health services (McCarthy, 2007; More, 2007). In particular, it has been suggested that the scope of this work be expanded, to address a range of non-regulatory animal health issues, including Johne’s disease, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and mastitis. However, as part of this discussion, there has been concern from within both government and industry as to the respective roles and responsibilities (both financial and otherwise) of government and industry in any such moves. Drawing on theoretical considerations and country case studies (from Ireland, the Netherlands and Australia), this paper argues the case for increased private sector involvement in Ireland’s national animal health services. The Netherlands and Australia, like Ireland, are each heavily reliant upon the

This paper argues the case for increased private sector involvement, including funding, in Ireland’s national animal health services.

92 peer reviewed

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