In our discussions at the World Vaccine Congress and in published posts we continue to explore the meaning and applications of the concept of One Health. In an article for AgriPulse in February 2023, Ronald B Phillips presented how this can be realised from an agricultural perspective. He writes that “some of the biggest issues” the US is currently facing “intersect” at “animal health”.  

“Keeping animals health contributes positively to the economy, public health, and sustainability goals, making it a bipartisan topic.” 

His article encourages more “specific” action from the US Congress to promote sustainable and efficient practices.  

Healthy animals contribute to a healthy economy 

Phillips suggests that agricultural experts and stakeholders have “long understood” the “connection between animal health, human health, environmental health, and economic growth”. For example, the role of a “stronger and safer” food supply can be considered. Phillips identifies “nearly $199 billion” contributed by farmers and ranchers in 2020 thanks to their rearing of livestock.  

High medical standards 

Phillips emphasises the importance of supporting “healthy animals” with appropriate medication and diagnostic tools. 

“Advanced medicines and diagnostic tools that identify, prevent, cure, and even eradicate disease in food animals help make the US food supply among the world’s safest”. 

For the obvious reason that “healthy animals are simply more productive”, he encourages continued “innovations” to enable farmers “operate more sustainably and profitably”. Although there are “clear benefits” to this innovation, he suggests that “more work needs to be done”. 

“One in five animals in the global food chain is lost to preventable disease.”  

As Phillips suggests, this is “not just bad for the animals”, but a “waste of natural resources”. So, how can innovation be encouraged, not just in the US, but across the world? Certainly, funding is a consistent issue across diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics, but we also identify a need for better collaboration with agricultural experts to understand and meet their needs.  

What would agricultural innovation look like for you and livestock practices in your country? What needs can you identify? 

For more on One Health approaches to human and animal health, join us at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington this April.