On the importance of veterinary medicine in the 21st century

Author FAO's Animal Production and Health Division

Dr. Peter de Leeuw, former Chief Veterinary Officer of the Netherlands and senior veterinary adviser to the Animal Health Service (AGAH) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, reminds us that certain highly infectious diseases make animal husbandry nearly impossible. However, even less severe diseases that result in poor animal health decrease the performance of farm animals, leading to lower production and associated financial losses due to mortality and morbidity. Poor animal health also negatively influences animal welfare. 

It is for this very reason that the provision of veterinary services by national and regional agencies is a key component to the success of farm operations. The lack of proper animal health practices reduces farm efficiencies and impacts potential profits. In fact, empirical studies have demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between the quality of livestock production and the provision of veterinary medical services.

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