Members of the Action for Animal Health coalition, in a letter marking Marking World Vet Day, assert that the importance of animal health systems to global health security is being overlooked. One of the weakest health systems is the animal health system, they say.
“The urgent need for investment in animal health and welfare to prevent another pandemic is clearer than ever.”
The signatories, which include the World Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, Brooke, Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, and the International Livestock Research Institute, said they were pleased to see the declaration from 24 world leaders in March 2021 emphasising the need to adopt a One Health approach.
“This approach recognises that the health of people and our planet depends on respecting the complex relationships that we have with animals we rely upon every day of our lives.”
However, chronic underfunding and a shortfall in the veterinary workforce has limited the capacity of veterinarians and other professionals within animal health systems to fully realise the potential of One Health initiatives, despite their willingness and expertise in this area.
“Now, more than ever, animals and the health systems that protect them are vital to the security and economic and social well-being of humanity. No one is safe until we are all safe, and unless we consider animals in our efforts to prevent disease outbreaks, the same mistakes will happen again. Please help us make One Health a reality that protects people, animals and the planet alike.”