Livestock and health

understanding the links between agriculture and health

The linkages between livestock and health are significant, particularly for the poor, whether as livestock raisers or as consumers of meat and milk, or even as users of the environment. The processes of livestock production and consumption bring both benefits and problems for human health… Livestock production and consumption can lead to four main types of human health risks: (1) diseases transmitted from livestock to humans; (2) environmental pollution; (3) foodborne diseases and risks; and (4) diet-related chronic diseases. Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans via bacteria, parasites, viruses, and unconventional agents. The more common and serious zoonoses caused by infectious agents include salmonellosis, swineherds’ disease caused by Leptospira species, brucellosis, the hepatitis E virus (HEV), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), Rift Valley fever (RVF), adult meningitis caused by Streptococcus suis, and the influenza virus… In developing countries, smallholders have only rudimentary methods of protecting themselves from diseases and preventing their spread to neighboring farms and communities. There may be a need to rethink the trends toward wholesale privatization of animal health services and public disinvestment in these services and to look more deeply into public and private partnerships.

Catelo, Maria Angeles
Published date: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Series number: 
PDF file: