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Livestock Spawning Disease Epidemics Worldwide

A report released last week by the International Livestock Research Institute shows that livestock are fueling disease epidemics worldwide.

According to the report, increased numbers of livestock and widespread adoption of industrial farming practices are spawning animal disease epidemics around the world. The problem is particularly severe in developing countries, where livestock diseases threaten the food security of populations that are already at risk.

“Wealthy countries are effectively dealing with livestock diseases,” said the authors of the report. “But in Africa and Asia, the capacity of veterinary services to track and control outbreaks is lagging dangerously behind livestock intensification.”

What’s more, many of these livestock diseases can be transmitted to humans. Seventy-five percent of emerging infectious diseases originate in animals, the majority of which are transmissible between animals and humans.

Some of the most lethal of these diseases originate in livestock. SARS, Avian influenza (aka bird flu), and Nipah virus are all examples of diseases that ‘jumped’ from a livestock host to humans.

The report warned that population growth and climate change could make these kind of livestock epidemics an even more serious threat to food security and human health.

Image courtesy of thornypup via a Creative Commons license.