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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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Prevention and control systems

National systems to prevent and control the spread of animal disease must take into account a number of factors, including the epidemiological history, socio-political culture, and the risks and likely severity of disease outbreaks. The efficiency of these systems is determined by where and by whom decision-making takes place, and how management responsibilities are implemented. In the five countries studied (Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, and France), data for risk assessment is gathered in several ways, with varied levels of information integration and sharing. Major decision-making is generally in the hands of the centralised state Veterinary Services, taking account of the views and interests of stakeholders.

Successful implementation of animal health policy depends on the availability of adequately trained and equipped veterinary field staff and others, along with accepted and transparent roles and co-financing arrangements. The experiences of Australia and Canada offer interesting models of private-public partnerships, while France’s GDS system involves all farmers in animal health programmes. Different strategies are possible to organise private contributions through direct fees or levies collected at several steps of the food chain, but governments must assure all partners of their commitment to support some of the initial costs if an important animal disease emerges.

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