Animals, like people, suffer from disease and require proper care from the veterinarian, the farmer and the pet owner. When disease occurs, diagnosis and treatment under veterinary care should follow. Whenever possible, prevention is always better than cure. Keeping animals healthy and treating them with dignity is one of the main objectives of the animal health industry and applies equally to companion animals, livestock and wild animals.
Read more about the animal health industry's value to society in our paper: A healthy community depends on healthy animals
Veterinary medicines make a significant contribution to improving the world we live in. Ensuring the health of animals is vital to safeguarding the health of people, both in terms of ensuring the availability of safe, healthy food for all but also in terms of disease transmission.
According to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health), of the nearly 1,500 infectious diseases we know affect people, a little over 60% can pass between animals and people. These are called zoonotic diseases. Some of the most commonly-recognised zoonotic diseases are avian flu, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and rabies. Over the past three decades, approximately 75% of new emerging human infectious diseases have been zoonotic.
With the rapidly increasing global population and the increasingly crowded nature of our planet where man and animal live in ever closer proximity the ability of infections to pass more frequently between species has increased. Preventive veterinary medicines and the widespread use and development of vaccines play an increasingly important role to combat zoonoses on a global level.
The European Union highlights the important role the animal health industry plays in human health through the 2007-2013 Animal Health Strategy which bears the slogan “Prevention is better than cure” and states that animal health is a concern for all European citizens not only from a public health perspective but also for food safety and economic aspects. The EU actively promotes the importance of One Health and encourages collaborations, synergies and cross-fertilisation of all professional sectors and actors in general whose activities may have an impact on health.
Click on the image below to view an interactive infographic explaining One Health: