Efficient and profitable farming as well as safe and wholesome products require that animal health is maintained at an optimum level. Zoonoses are a potential threat to human health and therefore need appropriate measures to prevent human infection. Both domestic and international trade is also partly dependent on the control, eradication or prevention of certain diseases which have international importance, like Foot and Mouth Disease. These diseases require a range of effective measures to limit or eliminate their impact on the industry. Safeguarding the livestock industry from animal disease by promoting animal health ensures sustainable and profitable production as well as competitiveness in the market.
Ensuring animal welfare is essential to farming systems, firstly because it is ethically correct, secondly because it underlies good production, and thirdly because it is expected by consumers.
Optimal animal health can only be realised provided that there is sufficient knowledge and expertise available regarding the causes, contributory factors and effective diagnosis of each disease. The influence of management practices, nutrition, socio-economics, and genetic resistance or resilience on many diseases, are major factors which determine the impact of health or disease on livestock farming. This knowledge underpins the understanding of the epidemiology of diseases and their economic effects on production and animal welfare.
The effects of diseases on animal products as they in turn affect human health are also essential components. Such knowledge enables the establishment of safe, cost-effective, reliable, practical and appropriate diagnostic procedures and control measures to be implemented. To be acceptable, control measures (whether they be eradication, limitation, and surveillance, official control, preventive or treatment-based) must also be safe, cost-effective, reliable, practical and appropriate for existing conditions. Animal welfare can only be assured when there is sufficient knowledge of the behavioural and other requirements of animals and how this is affected by various farming systems and practices.
FOCUS AREA 3 COMPONENT NUMBERS
A - Animal welfare
B - Aetiological studies
C - Animal / Pathogen / Environment interactions
D - Diagnostics
E - Disease control strategies