Friday, March 19, 2010

One Health: Humans and Animals

As the wife of the farm vet I work very closely with him in animal agriculture. This post is going to be about my week spent with many large animal veterinarians and animal scientists from across the nation. I attended a great conference in which the underlying theme was, "One World, One Health." This meaning, one health between animals, humans and the environment. A very good point was made to show that the veterinarian's oath summarizes this theme:

"Veterinarian's Oath: Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence."

Now think about it.....there is a direct link between the health of animals and humans, especially animals in agriculture. Even though you may not see or live near areas with animal agriculture you are affected by the health and safety of it if you consume any animal products. Veterinarians and animals scientists are constantly working to improve knowledge of diseases that affect animals and humans. It is extremely important that we continue to improve our science and knowledge for disease control and best animal care. I want to thank our veterinarians that put so much time and effort into carrying out their oath!

Unfortunately, the funding at the federal level is not extremely abundant for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct research. Here is a graph showing the funding for different government agencies to conduct research and development in the last thirty years. As you can see, the funding available to USDA has not changed much. I hope our government leaders will start to realize the importance of having funding available for research in agriculture as it directly relates to human and environmental health.

I also tagged along on an animal well-being evaluation on a dairy. This is going to be an evaluation that more and more dairy producers are doing in California. Here are a few pictures of the evaluation. I, personally, was impressed with the cleanliness of the cows and the facility. The evaluator, whom in this case was an outside veterinarian, assessed the health and welfare of the animals and provided feedback to the producer on what looked good and areas that could use some improvement. I commend these producers that will take an extra step to have a set of "new eyes" come out to look at their overall management.

Above left, the vet and the owner.
Above right, these girls had the munchies!
Left, someone getting a little sun on this beautiful CA day!


  1. Thanks for getting this information out there. People definitely need to be aware there is a connection between animal and human health.

  2. Thanks Kathy! I agree, I think that is easily forgotten in modern society. Thanks for commenting!