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World Food Day: Healthy animals key to preventing food loss at source

Brussels, 14 October 2023

Estimates from global bodies1 show that 20% of livestock production is lost due to animal disease. This is a reality faced by farmers around the globe that few are aware of. Ahead of World Food Day (16 October) awareness-raising activities, IFAH-Europe takes this opportunity to highlight the important role animal medicines play in the sustainable production of safe food with the aim of filling some knowledge gaps.

The recent survey findings published by IFAH-Europe in September this year demonstrated a lack of awareness amongst citizens when it comes to animal medicines and food production. Over 70% said that they didn’t know or didn’t think that medicines given to farm animals to keep them healthy could make food safer. 67% expressed concerns about food products such as meat or milk from sick animals entering the food chain and less than half (45%) agreed that food from vaccinated farm animals is safe. On the flip-side however, 83% stated that healthy animals produce better quality products (e.g. milk), and 73% agreed that healthy farm animals enable farmers to produce and supply food in a sustainable manner.

“As only animal produce (like meat, dairy products and eggs) fit for human consumption can enter the food chain, it is clear that we have quite some way to go in filling these knowledge gaps, as well as addressing the issue of food loss due to animal disease,” said IFAH-Europe Secretary General Roxane Feller. Using respiratory disease in cattle as an example, she continued, “Pneumonia is one of the most common and painful diseases in beef cattle. If untreated, it can be fatal. Aside from the animal welfare aspect here, it can also be economically damaging through massive production losses. It affects millions of animals and costs millions of euros per year. Both preventive vaccines and treatments with anti-inflammatories or antibiotics enable veterinarians to improve animal health and welfare, prevent animal mortality, and avoid such devastating production losses.”

“Innovations in animal health can help address production losses and ensure optimal use of natural resource input and less waste output. To further illustrate the key role of animal medicines in addressing the issues outlined, we are launching an infographic explaining the societal, economic and environmental benefits of healthy animals to sustainable food production,” concluded Ms. Feller.

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• IFAH-Europe commissioned a survey carried out across 6 European countries to canvas the perceptions and attitudes of EU citizens towards the use of veterinary medicines for the treatment and prevention of diseases in pets and farm animals in 2016.
• As part of an informative campaign to promote the benefits of veterinary medicines, IFAH-Europe has published an infographic entitled ‘Healthy animals: key to a sustainable food production’ .
• IFAH-Europe is the representative body of manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in Europe. It represents innovators and generics alike, as well as large, medium-sized and small companies. IFAH-Europe promotes a single market in veterinary medicines across the EU ensuring the availability of medicines to protect the health and welfare of animals. Follow IFAH-Europe on @IFAHEurope - Like us on Facebook:


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