The animal health industry plays a key role in livestock protection as a provider of tools to help prevent, control and manage animal diseases affecting Europe’s farming community. Thanks to these tools (vaccines and medicines) Europe has been successful in managing animal diseases such as salmonella, bluetongue or foot and mouth disease which just years ago posed serious threats to animal health, food safety and public health.
The industry remains acutely aware of future critical challenges however and strives to continue developing advanced solutions that protect both animal and human health. Below you will find links to a number of fact sheets outlining some of the successes experienced thanks to animal health products.
Healthy food comes from healthy animals, so it makes sense to ensure food-producing animals are always in the best possible health. Healthy animals grow more quickly, make the best use of the food they eat and produce good quality foodstuffs, such as meat, dairy products and eggs, at affordable prices. They also provide us with essential by-products such as wool and leather. In contrast, sick or suffering animals not only cost more to feed but because diseases may affect the quality of what they produce, the meat, milk or eggs produced often cannot be sold. In more extreme cases, it may even be unsafe to eat food from animals that could be carrying disease. (See further info under: Food Safety)
In exactly the same way that we might have our children vaccinated when they are young, to avoid certain health issues later in life, medicines, such as vaccines are used to prevent potential health problems in our farm animals. Veterinary surgeons work closely with farmers to develop preventative programmes designed to maintain the health of their livestock.
Because preventative treatments are used to ensure their welfare, most farm animals remain healthy throughout their lives. However, where effective preventative treatments are not available, remedial treatments, such as antibiotics, might be used to help get them back on their feet, to prevent other members of the herd or flock from being infected, or to prevent unhealthy animals from entering the food chain.