Cork scholar to offer insights on farmer-led animal welfare

November 10th, 2019 11:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

Nuffield scholar Colm O'Leary from Blarney.

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NUFFIELD Ireland, the independent organisation which identifies future leaders in the Irish agricultural sector, hosts its annual conference on Friday, November 15th next, and among this year’s speakers is Colm O’Leary who comes from a family dairy farm near Blarney. 

Colm recently completed a Nuffield Scholarship and will present the findings of his report – ‘Farmer-led Animal Welfare - an opportunity for the livestock industry’ – at the event.

Colm’s report explores international research in animal welfare and the case for improving welfare standards on farms. Speaking about his findings, Colm said: ‘Consumer concerns about some aspects of animal welfare cannot be explained or educated away. Equally, any discovered attempt to hide unpleasant practices from consumers destroys consumer trust and confidence in farmers. Therefore, the only way to maintain consumers’ trust is to align production standards with consumer values.’

This year’s Nuffield Ireland conference aims to discuss agriculture’s role in growing a healthy, sustainable society and will challenge the Nuffield community to consider and act on sustainability initiatives to balance their relatively intensive agriculture systems.

The topic will be addressed in a panel discussion with Brendan Gleeson, secretary-general of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Professor Alan Matthews, Trinity College, Dublin, and Professor Alice Stanton, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and Devenish Nutrition.

Other 2018 scholars who have completed their research and will present on the day include:

• Joe Lyng from a sheep and beef farm in Inistioge, Co Kilkenny and currently Ruminant Business Manager with Glanbia, will present the findings of his report on ‘The value in the market for grass-fed dairy product.’

• Karol Kissane, a dairy farmer from Asdee in North Kerry, will present the findings of his report, ‘A review of perceptions of agriculture among primary school students and opportunities for developments.’

• Klaus Laitenberger from Germany and living in Leitrim, is currently an organic farm and garden inspector for the Organic Trust. He will present his report on ‘The potential of growing Yacon and Jerusalem artichokes as crops and functional foods in Ireland

• Tommy Heffernan, a vet and animal health specialist, originally from Co Kerry, but now based in Wicklow will present his report on ‘A cow-centered approach to modern dairy farming.’

Tickets for the conference at the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin 15 are available to book now on

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