Private Sector Q&A on Livestock and Global Health Security
I’m Dr. Jason Shelton, Cargill’s TRANSFORM Chief of Party. TRANSFORM is a part of USAID’s Global Health Security Agenda and is operating in Kenya, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam. Read more about the project here. This Q&A was done in collaboration with my colleague Dennis Erpelding from the International Poultry Council (IPC).
It’s livestock month. Why are we talking about Global Health Security?
Because animal health and human health are directly linked. Livestock production supports the livelihoods of almost 1.3 billion people worldwide and contributes to 34 percent of global food protein supply that helps feed 7.8 billion people. Animal-sourced foods are at risk due to emerging transboundary and zoonotic infectious diseases in livestock. It’s also World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (Nov 18-24) – and animal agriculture has a role to play in reducing risks related to antimicrobial use. Antimicrobials are medicines used to prevent, control and treat infections in humans and animals. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural biological process of bacteria survival. When an infection occurs, resistant bacteria make it difficult to treat, which increases the risk of disease spread, illness, death. Animal health contributes to food security, and food security contributes to global health security.
What should the development industry know about TRANFORM’s model?
The first, is our unique private sector-driven model. Across geographies, our consortium brings a portfolio of private sector expertise, links across the food chain, and human capital. We understand how to develop solutions for long-term market uptake because that’s what we do every day in the private sector. Here are our members:
- Cargill is the consortium lead. We are a global agribusiness with animal and human health products and deep expertise in animal feed, nutrition, data collection and protein markets. We believe agriculture is how we help people and the planet thrive.
- Ausvet is a consulting company with epidemiological expertise and a focus on One Health technology and data solutions.
- IPC is a global member organization that serves as the unified voice for the poultry meat sector and promotes global food security in a multi-lateral environment.
- Heifer International is a global NGO that works to support farmers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods.
The second, is that TRANSFORM is a research and development (R+D) based project. R+D is critical in the private sector, and it should be no different for the development context. There are so many unknowns in this industry. And each geography will require different solutions.
What can others do to help livestock farmers prevent infectious disease and AMR?
Here are five holistic best practices for farmers from the private sector:
- Biosecurity Action Plan. This is the best way to limit the introduction and spread of disease. A few examples include: Farm perimeter security, disinfectant at entry, controlling who comes on a farm.
- Manage for an Animal’s Genetic Potential. Ensure the health and comfort of animals for welfare and production. A few examples include: Ensure proper animal spacing, good ventilation systems, temperature control.
- Nutrition Management. Feeding an animal the right nutrients and a balanced diet is critical to maintaining animal health and achieving desired outputs.
- Health Program. Take the steps necessary and use the tools available, such as vaccines, to maintain an animal’s healthy gut and microbiome.
- Data Collection. On-farm data on inputs, performance and health factors help a farmer make better decisions.
If these steps are done well and holistically, the spread of disease and AMR are dramatically decreased. It’s a win for farmers, and a win for food security and global health security.
Interested in learning more? Contact me at: Jason_Shelton@Cargill.com