News & Analysis


A service to help Ireland’s National Action Plan on AMR

VirtualVet welcomes the launch of Ireland’s ‘One Health’ National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2017-2020. The growing threat of antimicrobial resistance must be tackled through collaboration between animal and human health sectors. VirtualVet is gathering animal health data in near real-time providing accurate digital information to help stakeholders more accurately measure antibiotic and antimicrobial usage in food producing animals. It is known that a large percentage of human diseases originate in animals. This requires the need for healthier animals thus requiring less medicine. Farmers gather important information daily on the health of their animals. This information can play a vital […]


VirtualVet – What we do & why.

To help others realise the level of support and help out there for start-up businesses, WLRfm recently visited VirtualVet to chat about our experiences with the Local Enterprise Office. The brief video below describes how and why we started the business, name drops a few great mentors and a source of inspiration, encourages ceaseless research and describes the big advantages to appearing at the national ploughing championships – regardless of weather!


Sinead Quealy joins advisory board of Project Mooo

A few months ago, following our work on AHEAD 2017, I met Param Singh of UDAY Skills. Param and his team are leading an interesting rural development project in Punjab, India, focused on dairy farmers and the importance of sustainable and profitable dairy farmers to a rural economy and community – Project Moo. Param was looking for a way to help farmers record their cow health and medicine usage, but also to improve the overall information and knowledge flow within the value chain. Through our discussions and based on some of the experiences in Irish and European dairy farming, it […]


A business model for Ireland’s Animal Health strategic success

Is Ireland further along the road to achieving the Animal Health strategy than people realise? Media coverage this week highlighted the launch by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture Food & Marine (DAFM) of a National Farmed Animal Health Strategy.  It sets out a comprehensive vision to take the farmed animal industry to 2022 and follows  a consultative process carried out in 2016. The contributions received by the department are available and are as interesting as the finished document because they  clearly show common concerns, some shared frustrations and the committed focus to excellence by influential actors in the farmed animal industry […]


CAP Reform – “Rural Jobs” should mean more than farm jobs

VirtualVet is an agtech start-up operating from a family farm. Our aim is to create high quality rural jobs offering a compliance support service to farmers and data collection service to the wider agri-food and animal health industries. To make our vision a reality, a few things are required: Internet connectivity & government agencies to fully embrace the potential of digital technology and the concept of data sharing. There is a wealth of innovation and  creativity in rural areas; and there are a lot of important food safety and environmental protection services which need to be developed for farmers. Prof […]


Farm Data Ownership Debate – Buried in Bratislava

Earlier this month I was one of the lucky ones chosen to attend the excellent EIP Agri Data Sharing Workshop in Bratislava. Within an hour the  “data ownership” question was skillfully re-framed to “data  controller & data processor” roles, and the relationship between these roles. For VirtualVet this validated our entire approach and methodology. We have long believed that “ownership” and the notions of defense or protection it excites, prevent farmers and the wider value chain from benefiting fully from vitally important information and knowledge. Instead, we believe and are implementing a relationship model, where farmers control their data, explicitly […]


News Roundup: Avian influenza, FAO launches Asian initiative

Avian influenza in China Human cases of avian influenza have increased since December 2016 – specifically the H7N9 virus, influenza A – having first been detected in China four years ago. Despite heavy investment in the surveillance of bird markets and poultry farms, most patients reported previous contact with live birds. “Targeted surveillance to detect the disease and clean infected farms and live bird markets, intervening at critical points along the poultry value chain – from farm to table – is required. There should be incentives for everybody involved in poultry production and marketing to enforce disease control.” – Vincent […]


AHEAD 2017, Digital Transformation of Animal Health Data

AHEAD 2017 workshop is sponsored by OECD’s Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems On March 1st and 2nd VirtualVet and Epi-Connect hosted AHEAD 2017, a workshop to discuss the digital transformation opportunities in animal health, animal disease and animal drug usage. We intend to create a road-map with and for interested actors along the animal health value chain. This complex value chain starts, first and foremost with farmers. VirtualVet and Epi-Connect are adamant that farmers and the wider agri-food value chain, have yet to fully realise the true value or potential of on-farm, near real-time […]


News Roundup February 21st : NFU demand clarity on Brexit

EU Commission awards €45,000 to organisations fighting AMR Three non-governmental organisations have been awarded in Belgium, at a ceremony hosted by the University of Leuven, for outstanding contributions that have significantly reduced the threat of antimicrobial resistance to human health. Awarded first prize by Commissioner of Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, the BEUC (The European Consumer organisation) operated an antibiotic resistance campaign “From Farm to You”, while the second-placed Soil Association received €15,000 for their campaign to end the routine prophylactic mass-medication of farm animals. Speaking at the event, Commissioner Andriukaitis said that “averting this looming threat before it […]


News Roundup: Cochrane Review, IFRM

Cochrane Review: Interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing practices for hospital inpatients. On February 9th 2017, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews produced a review that highlights some good measures to be taken when prescribing antibiotics, with a mind to combating antimicrobial resistance. Using information collected from 221 studies on the subject, the studies tested interventions that fell broadly into two categories: restrictive techniques, which apply rules to make physicians prescribe properly, and enablement techniques, which provide advice or feedback to help physicians prescribe properly. The study found high-certainty evidence of interventions leading to improved prescription practices. Both restriction and enabling […]