Animal health is integral to secure food systems. Is the EU ready for the challenges ahead?

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The global population is projected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 [1]. To meet this growing demand, animal protein production must increase overall by an estimated 20% [2] over the next two decades. Amid the complex landscape of geopolitical tensions and economic challenges the world is facing, securing food supply for the future will need to take a “One Health” approach; a concept that’s been recognized for over a century that animal, human, and environmental health are inextricably linked to safeguarding public health.

Jamie Brannan is the Executive Vice President and Group President International Operations, Aquaculture and Global Diagnostics at Zoetis.

Collaboration for Progress

The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), one of the first initiatives to explore One Health, celebrated its centenary birthday last week with a conference highlighting its legacy of collaboration, innovation, and progress. The congress also facilitated important discussions on how the animal health industry can prepare for the future. WOAH was founded in 1924 when 28 nations united to better understand and control an international outbreak of rinderpest in cattle. This collaboration was the driving force behind the scientific breakthroughs that eventually helped the disease become eradicated globally. This level of collaboration and solidarity is essential to tackle the challenges ahead.

Reducing Environmental Impact

Greater collaboration, across the EU and globally, can propel and pave the necessary pathways to combat the impact of climate change on food security. Initiatives that connect the public and private sectors are important for supporting food system transformation. In one such project in the United States, Zoetis partnered with Dairy Management Incorporated (DMI) and the Ruminant Farm Systems (RuFaS) modelling team to enhance the RuFaS on-farm emissions model. In the project, Zoetis provides animal health and genetics data and research expertise to better understand and reduce dairy farm carbon footprints, aiming to improve the efficiency and environmental impact of milk production.

Advancing Animal Health in Developing Markets

Rural smallholder communities in developing regions play an essential role in achieving food security, and collaboration to advance animal health in these areas is critical. In Sub-Saharan Africa, one of the most rapidly developing regions in the world, the African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (A.L.P.H.A.) Plus initiative, co-funded by Zoetis and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is working to increase access to an expanded portfolio of veterinary products and services, including diagnostics, and improve the scale of delivery networks. The initiative focuses on sustainable avenues of protein production across cattle, poultry and aquaculture in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and other markets in West, East and Central Sub-Saharan Africa.

Addressing Veterinary Workforce Challenges

Veterinary professionals are at the forefront of feeding a hungry world. Their work caring for animals contributes to a safe and abundant food supply and safeguards public health. It can be a deeply fulfilling profession with rewarding connections and impact, but it can also be incredibly demanding, including long hours, emotional strain, and financial burden, which can lead to burnout. Through industry association collaboration, the Federation of European Veterinarians, the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinarians and IVSA created a new mental wellbeing hub called, featuring a jointly developed comprehensive toolkit in supporting veterinary workplaces in promoting mental well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The toolkit is supported by Zoetis [3].

Supporting frameworks that enable innovation and adaptability

There can be no societal or political stability without food security, and by advancing animal health to protect against disease and produce nutritious, sustainable protein we can ensure a better future for all. If the last years have taught us anything, it’s that change is the only constant and policymakers and industry players must be ready to adapt.

The focus on food supply has intensified in recent years. Farmer protests in Europe revealed the importance of creating policies that address environmental concerns while ensuring the economic stability and livelihood of farmers to produce food. The war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic increased concerns about the ability to secure the availability of food at a stable price. Meanwhile inflation is rising [4]. Emerging zoonotic diseases are happening with increasing frequency due to increased urbanization due to population growth, climate change and increasing global travel and trade [5].

It’s now more important than ever to collaborate to create long-term One Health food security solutions. Food systems have always been prone to disruptions throughout history, and in this important political year of elections across the EU, UK, and US it is crucial that we support policies that encourage innovation and enable the development of needed solutions. Together we can continue to build a better future for tomorrow.

Learn more about how Zoetis is progressing in its long-term aspirations to champion a healthier, more sustainable world in its 2023 Sustainability Report.



  1. Population | United Nations
  2. en-woah-saf-vision-paper-final.pdf
  4. 2nd report on the State of Food Security in the EU (Spring 2024) (

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