Improving livestock health, trade and human livelihoods in Africa

Boston -- In many parts of Africa, livestock are not only a source of food, but also an underutilized trading commodity. Working with international and regional agencies, Africa-based researchers from Feinstein International Center (FIC) at Tufts University address policies and practices to improve animal health and trade in local communities, including constraints around the export of livestock and livestock products. Andrew Catley, PhD, a research director at FIC, contributed to a "Viewpoint" article in the July 8th issue of The Veterinary Record that highlights the need for a trustworthy and viable process to certify the status of livestock commodities as a means to encourage safe export trade. An earlier paper by Catley and colleagues addresses the underlying issue of improving health care services for livestock, a challenge in parts of Africa where a dearth of veterinary services hinders efforts.

"Increasing international trade of livestock is a potentially useful poverty reduction strategy for developing regions, particularly Africa, but there are many obstacles that hinder that trade," says Catley. The authors of the Veterinary Record Viewpoint, including lead author G.R. Thomson, emphasize the need for an independent source of certification based on improved international standards to benefit livestock farmers in Africa.

"Under the current World Trade Organization standards that govern international trade of animals and animal products, trade from developing regions to countries like the United States and European nations is hindered because of concerns about government veterinary services in developing countries. These services are often weak and in some countries, are affected by high levels of corruption, yet they're responsible for issuing international health certificates for livestock exports," explains Catley. Importing countries "need verification that there is minimal risk of infectious disease agents that threaten human healt

Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
Tufts University

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