THE Minister of State at the Depart- ment of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Wallace TD, speaking at the Irish Equine Veterinary Con- ference in Killenard last week, ac- knowledged the contribution of the Irish bloodstock industry and vital role that equine veterinary practi- tioners play in “maintaining the high health status of the Irish equine pop- WIE LeCey ila
Minister Wallace described the bloodstock industry as one _ that “makes a tremendous contribution to the profile, culture and economy of this country and which also has
a well deserved global tradition and reputation”. The thoroughbred sec- tor has been the main flag bearer for the industry over the years with Irish bred horses winning some of the world’s most prestigious races, and Ireland was the world’s third largest producer of thoroughbreds. The min- ister added that the Irish sports horse had also flown the flag with great distinction and she predicted that the establishment of Horse Sport Ireland heralded an era of significant oppor- tunity for this sector.
The minister said that the reputa- tion of the industry was underpinned by the health status of the horse pop- ulation. In that regard, she described
equine practitioners as being “at the coalface” of animal health, and ex- pressed her appreciation and that of her department for the support pro- vided by the industry and the veteri- nary profession during the 2006 out- break of equine infectious anaemia. The minister also paid tribute to the “collaborative approach” taken by the bloodstock industry, the veteri- nary profession and her department in tackling and successfully eradicat- ing the disease outbreak.
Ms Wallace acknowledged increas- ing concern about the emergence of new disease threats facing the equine and other sectors for a variety of rea- sons, and the ongoing need for fur-
ther measures to enhance animal, and equine welfare in particular. Minister Wallace said that her de- partment was committed to playing its part through the introduction of new and robust animal health and welfare legislation to meet the com- mitments in the programme for Gov- ernment.
Minister Wallace also paid tribute to the late Michael Osborne, whose memory was honoured by the inclu- sion of the inaugural Michael Os- borne Lecture as a central part of the conference. Ms Wallace described Mr Osborne as “a man who made an enormous contribution to the Irish bloodstock industry”.