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Guidelines to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on livestock production and animal health

26/05/2020

COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on many sectors at global, regional and national levels, including the livestock sector (FAO, 2020; G20, 2020). The actions taken in many countries, such as lockdown, travel restrictions and border controls, have resulted in unintended or negative consequences for the livestock sector, including but not limited to (i) difficulty moving live animals and animal products like milk, meat and eggs to markets, (ii) restrictions potentially limiting seasonal border crossings (transhumance) with ruminants, (iii) restricted capacity to purchase necessary production inputs, (iv) restricted access to labour and professional services. These difficulties have led to a decrease in processing capacity for animal products, as well as loss of sales and slowdown of market activity. Additionally, COVID-19 could undermine the capacities of countries to prevent and control animal diseases – as governments and households reallocate resources to respond to the pandemic and reduce its socio-economic impact. Of particular concern are current outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases such as African swine fever, foot and mouth disease, avian influenza and other infectious animal diseases whose prevention and control may have been severely compromised.

The purpose of these guidelines is to describe the impact of COVID-19 on livestock production and animal disease prevention and control, and to provide practical recommendations for actors along value chains to reduce this impact and ensure continuity of the livestock supply chain and animal health. The target beneficiaries of these guidelines are livestock value chain actors including livestock farmers, slaughterhouse workers, animal product processors, traders, animal health professionals and veterinary paraprofesionals, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders.

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