Animal health innovation as a key contributor to EU sustainable development goals – EURACTIV.com
Jamie Brannan is President of International Operations at Zoetis Inc.
Lawmakers have set policy goals for better agricultural sustainability, including stricter animal welfare standards, reduced antibiotic use, and reduced impact of livestock on the planet:
- In June 2021, the European institutions concluded their discussions on the regulatory framework of the future common agricultural policy (CAP) implement policy goals for more sustainable agriculture in practice.
- In the Farm to Fork Strategy published in May 2020, the European Commission set out its vision to improve the sustainability of EU agriculture, including the target of a 50% reduction in sales of antimicrobials in livestock and aquaculture by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.
- The European Parliament is expected to adopt its recommendations in October 2021 in its own-initiative report on Farm to Fork Strategy calling for tangible improvements in animal welfare at the farm level and mitigation of the spread of zoonotic diseases.
- Parliament seeks to finalize its own-initiative report on animal welfare on the farm by December 2021. The European Commission’s Fitness Check aims to determine which EU animal welfare legislation needs to be revised to align with the latest scientific evidence, broaden its scope and facilitate its enforcement.
Ambitious sustainability goals require a legislative framework that encourages farmers to access and adopt effective tools and solutions to optimize animal health and welfare.
- Improving animal health is a prerequisite for good animal welfare.
- Innovation in animal health is essential to achieve agricultural sustainability, encompassing the financial sustainability of our farmers, as well as the challenges of environmental and social sustainability.
- Healthy animals play an important role in protecting public health – many human diseases have their origin in animals.
In response to these demands and trends, Zoetis is investing in a “Continuum of Care” approach with four interconnected stages of animal care:
- To predict – precise predictions, for example, of disease-related challenges, for example through genomic testing
- To prevent – management interventions and products (eg vaccines) to prevent the disease and avoid having to treat it in the future.
- Detect – actively apply diagnostics and other data sources for routine surveillance and to ensure accurate and timely diagnosis; and
- To treat – responsibly use therapeutic products, including antibiotics, to manage disease when the need arises to protect the health and welfare of animals.
These interconnected solutions allow veterinarians and breeders to manage the health and welfare of the animals in their care more efficiently and sustainably.
New innovations in precision animal health – capturing and using multiple sources of livestock data to create information and inform management interventions – can help farmers and veterinarians move from group care to care tailored to the needs of each animal and to do so with precision and timeliness. This has the potential to dramatically improve animal health, welfare, production efficiency, and environmental sustainability.
In addition, access to new sources of agricultural data and / or new capabilities for using sophisticated data and analysis – already in use and developing in other sectors (e.g. human health) – has the potential to create information on areas of agricultural production that are currently not practical. today. More specifically, this includes the ability to objectively measure, quantify and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and to objectively monitor, in real time, a complete animal welfare assessment.
Complementing our innovative portfolio of genomic predictions, preventive and therapeutic solutions, Zoetis is committed to supporting farmers and veterinarians with data-driven Precision Animal Health solutions to better predict, detect and manage health and welfare. -being and helping our customers to achieve their production. and sustainability goals.
We work closely with veterinarians and farmers on a daily basis to understand their challenges and goals, and to come up with solutions that address their most important unmet needs.
Creating these solutions requires a significant investment on the part of all relevant stakeholders. Volatile commodity prices and rising input prices (including feed, labor and energy) can make these investments difficult for farmers.
With the upcoming CAP policy and ambitious national strategic plans and the conceptualization of the farm-to-fork strategy, legislators have the opportunity to create an environment that encourages innovation and the adoption of innovations to support advancement towards more sustainable agriculture.
As Zoetis, we are committed to continuing to innovate and reinvent animal health to constantly renew our social license to operate. Sustainability is ingrained in the way we operate – through strategic decision-making, business processes, and formal commitments to environmental, social and governance responsibilities.
By working with stakeholders, customers and communities, together we can build a healthier and more sustainable world!