Livestock production plays an important role in the Irish economy. Regulatory animal health issues are the responsibility of government, but until recently there has been no national coordination of non-regulatory animal health issues. This gap has recently been filled with the establishment of Animal Health Ireland (AHI), a not-for-profit, partnership-based organisation providing national leadership and coordination of non-regulatory animal health issues in Ireland. Animal Health Ireland provides benefits to livestock producers and processors by providing the knowledge, education and coordination required to establish effective control strategies, both on-farm and nationally. This paper presents a brief overview of the context for AHI, and of its establishment and initial activities. Non-regulatory animal health issues have been prioritised. A series of work programmes (each focusing on a high-priority issue) have been established. Partnership is critical to success, both for AHI as an organisation and for effective farm-level transfer of knowledge. This model for national leadership and coordination of non-regulatory animal health issues may be of relevance elsewhere.
Animal health – Coordination – Ireland – Non-regulatory animal health – Partnership – Private good – Public good.