The health of animals and humans are intrinsically linked. Addressing animal diseases can directly improve human health, particularly in the developing world. Livestock also indirectly contribute to health goals by supporting better livelihoods and therefore better dietary, educational and health choices.
Six out of every 10 human infectious diseases are likely shared with animals and 80% of this burden falls on low and middle-income countries. Every dollar invested in interventions could generate five dollars’ worth of benefits.
New human diseases that come from animals already cost at least $6.7 billion a year worldwide. If one of these were to become a major pandemic it could kill millions of people and cost more than $1 trillion.
Animal-source foods are most often implicated in foodborne diseases, which cause at least 500,000 deaths every year. Improving the safety of animal-source foods would reduce this risk and improve the availability of these most nutritious foods.