UK - This summer, sheep and cattle farmers in Northern Ireland will be encouraged to participate in an important survey to seek opinions on current disease prevention and control measures.
Cattle and sheep are a very important part of the agricultural economy in Northern Ireland. Infectious sheep and cattle diseases can cause significant economic losses to farms and to the livestock industry each year.
Furthermore, certain diseases, such as enzootic abortion in sheep or brucellosis in cattle, can infect humans and cause serious illnesses.
There is an on-going risk of new diseases entering Northern Irish farms due to factors such as international trade and climate and vector changes as well as the risk of existing diseases spreading due to changes in farming practices.
Now, more than ever, employing appropriate animal disease prevention and control strategies is essential to minimise disease on farms and to ensure the long-term profitability of the industry.
AFBI is undertaking research examining farmers’ views and concerns in relation to animal diseases as well as measures farmers take to prevent and manage disease.
A project team has been established across AFBI to include livestock production and welfare scientists, veterinary surgeons, and agricultural economists.
A comprehensive review of literature was completed, which identified priority livestock diseases, the measures farmers employ to control and prevent them in other countries, as well as the impact of failure to control disease.
To address gaps in knowledge identified by this review an “Animal Disease Control Survey” is to be launched this summer to gain a better understanding of what cattle and sheep farmers think about disease prevention and control measures.
It is very important that we understand farmers’ views from a range of different farm types, size and location and a questionnaire will be sent to around 2,000 farms in Northern Ireland that keep sheep and/or cattle.
Farmers can complete and return this questionnaire to AFBI either online via the AFBI website or by post.
The information obtained from this survey will be valuable in providing the cattle and sheep industries with feedback on current understanding of the prevention and control of animal diseases and the measures which could be utilised more efficiently to help farmers to secure their farm and its sustainability.
We encourage all farmers who receive this questionnaire to take part in this survey. The questionnaire should take no longer than 25 minutes to complete and all the information provided will remain confidential and only be used for the purposes of the study.
Pictured L-R Members of the AFBI Project Team: Marijntje Speijers, Simon Doherty, Helen Hartley, David Matthews, Graham Finney-Stewart, Claire Jack and Angela Lahuerta-Marin.
TheCattleSite News Desk