Disease prevention and
surveillance must be protected
As governments around the world
seek to reign in spending and reduce
deficits, ministers and civil servants will
be looking to not only save money but
to also not upset the voting public.
What the public views as
“essential” services are usually only
tinkered with, but those that stay
out of the headlines until really
needed tend to be much easier to
cut, and the consequent reduction
in expenditure looks good – at least
in the short term. Animal health and
disease surveillance are, possibly,
areas where the axe can fall easily.
While not what governments
looking to cut expenditure now
want to hear, the FAO is arguing that
billions of dollars could be saved by
stepping up prevention and control
of high impact animal disease.
Spending now, even if an
investment for the future, does not
appeal. But according to the FAO, the
future could be increasingly difficult.
It reiterates that emerging
threats can be related to increased
urbanization and demand for
animal protein. A rapid increase and
intensification in poultry production
in East Asia, for example, translated
into a five-fold increase in duck meat
output between 1985 and 2008.
“We are expecting the costs to
human, animal and plant health of
these pathogens, and their overall
economic costs, to rise substantially
over the next decades” says Juan
Lubroth, FAO’s chief veterinary officer.
The FAO takes the UK as an
example. A 2001 outbreak of foot
and mouth disease was estimated to
have cost US$25-30 billion.
It continues that the 2002-2003
SARS outbreak cost China, Hong Kong,
Singapore and Canada US$30-50 billion.
There is no doubt
that more pathogens
are emerging –
Worryingly, the FAO notes that
the influenza virus pool circulating
in humans, poultry, pigs and other
animals is becoming more diverse with
new strains increasingly common.
“This is not science fiction,” adds
Lubroth. “The threats are very real.
Deadly and economically devastating
livestock epidemics have existed
throughout history but there is no
doubt that more pathogens are
emerging – and spreading.” ◻
World Egg Day
World Egg Day is a unique opportunity to
raise awareness of the benefits of eggs and
is celebrated in countries around the world.
It was established in 1996, at the
International Egg Commission (IEC)
Vienna conference, when it was decided to celebrate World
Egg Day on the second Friday in October each year.
Initiatives to celebrate the event have taken various
forms. In 2005, the Camera Argentina de Productos
Avicolas organized a promotional campaign in response
to research that found that consumers felt that eggs had
no identity. To create a personality that the public could
relate to, an egg-shaped Super Man character called
Super Huevo was developed for a package label, listing
all the health benefits of eggs for different age groups.
The same year, Hungary organized an eggs festival,
while in Australia, the Australian Egg Corporation
launched an Egg Ambassador. Geoff Jansz, a chef
on Australian television, who hosted a special
episode about eggs on his “Fresh” shows.
More recently, World Egg Day was promoted through
various national newspapers in China, while in the
US, the director of the American Egg Board Howard
Helmer participated in a satellite media tour.
Helmer spoke with 15 news stations from cities
across the country, demonstrating omelettes with Asian,
Mexican, Mediterranean and Indian flair, and discussed
eggs’ affordability, versatility and nutritional benefits.
To find out about World Egg Day 2009's initiatives, go to: