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Livestock Diseases

Prevention, Control and Compensation Schemes

image of Livestock Diseases

This report is an overview of the management of risk due to livestock diseases, a potentially catastrophic type of risk that can have strong external effects given its links to the food chain and to human health. Animal disease, primarily in farmed livestock, has long been a policy concern for food safety reasons and the high economic losses it can engender. The globalisation of trade and human movement, and sensitivities to food safety, enhance the relevance and complexity of disease control for terrestrial livestock. Outbreaks – or even rumours of an outbreak – can result in widespread consumer alarm, disruption of trade, and severe effects on incomes, not to mention the human cost of illnesses and deaths arising from animal disease.

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Economic issues and the roles of international organisations

This chapter concerns the management of livestock diseases liable to become epidemic or even pandemic, i.e. that can spread from an endemic disease source to a wider population within the country, or even beyond. The consequences of such outbreaks may concern not only the affected livestock species, but also the trade of livestock or their products both at the domestic (regional or national) and international levels, human health in the case of zoonoses, and other economic sectors.

Outbreaks of animal disease have a number of economic impacts that range from direct losses for livestock producers to “third-party” effects. Standard cost-benefit analyses offer some economic guidance, but are complicated by issues of risk and uncertainty, and the prevalence of “club good” and “public good” characteristics of contagious livestock diseases.

International organisations and agreements, such as the OIE, the European Union and Mercosur, play an important role in informing, guiding and co-ordinating national policy designs and actions in the presence of livestock disease, e.g. via maintaining databases, setting standards and providing negotiation forums.

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