My STEP signature project was a study abroad focusing in Human and animal interactions in The Republic of Ireland. During the trip I visited many different farms and research areas to see the different management systems that were used due to the unique climate of Ireland. While at these places I also learned about how current political events were affecting these businesses.
The inter-relatedness of politics on the Ireland was very different compared to the United States. Also, the unique climate allows the farms on the Island to keep animals out longer and give a food source we don’t use much in the Unites States. However, the climate also raises several problems that we do not have here in the United States.
The Republic of Ireland has both its own rules for livestock and animal but also has to follows rules put in place by the European Union. One of the main topics that was reoccurring was Brexit. Many of the farmers were concerned about their supply chain and product prices since they freely traded with the United Kingdom. Several farmers were concerned about what kind of boarder would be installed because they took animals to processing plants in Northern Ireland and some processing plants in The Republic of Ireland harvested animals from Northern Ireland.
In the Republic of Ireland, the climate allows for them to grow grass almost all year. This lets the farmers have a longer grazing season than the United States and have a cheaper more abundant food source for their livestock. They actually had a research facility and worked with the farmers to have sustainable grassland management and livestock food supply.
The climate on the Island gives the farmers unique issues with their livestock. With the very wet and muddy environment the farmers have to run all hoofed animals through a foot bath with regularity. This prevents and treats infections in the hoof instead of using antibiotics right away since the European Union has strict laws on the use of antibiotics in animals.
The new outlook I have after this trip will be incredibly helpful in my current job and future career working in animal medicine. Working in a medical field will expose me to many cultures that are different then mine. I feel this experience has truly help me better other stand the complexity of other cultures and help me interact better in my future career.