5 July 2023

Brooke and partners host parliament event urging government to invest in animal health

Brooke and the A4AH coalition. Guests included Baroness Natalie Bennett (middle) and Dr Scott Miller (back left). 

The Action for Animal Health (A4AH) coalition held a reception for key political and veterinary figures at the House of Commons on Tuesday 4 July, to mark the formal launch of a new report which calls on global governments to ensure stronger investment in animal health to prevent future pandemics and support One Health.

More than 75% of all new human infectious diseases come from animals, as highlighted by recent outbreaks of avian influenza, COVID-19 and ebola. The report, The Case for Investing in Animal Health to Support One Health explains that risks to global human, animal and environmental health could be reduced with a stronger animal health workforce, better access to veterinary medicines, and improved disease surveillance.

Tuesday’s event was sponsored by former Green Party leader, Baroness Natalie Bennett. Speakers included Dr Klara Saville, Chair of A4AH, Dr Keith Sumption, Chief Veterinary Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Dr Simon Doherty, Vice-Chair of international development charity, Ripple Effect, and Dr Tewodros Tesfaye, Programme Manager at Brooke Ethiopia.

Guests included representatives from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

A4AH poster at the parliamentary event.

Baroness Bennett said: “I was delighted to sponsor the Action for Animal Health coalition’s event in Parliament. As a strong advocate of systems thinking and joined-up action, I welcome A4AH’s new report. It is high time that society at large recognised what scientists have been saying for decades now: there is only One Health.

By strengthening animal healthcare systems, and addressing the planetary ills of pollution and biodiversity loss, we protect our own human health. Ensuring a high standard of animal health globally is key to eliminating zoonotic spillover events that devastate human communities and result in vast quantities of medical waste. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I commend A4AH for the work they are doing to carry this banner.”

Other attendees included broadcaster Dr Scott Miller, vet Dr Danny Chambers, and MP Jim Shannon.

The devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn the world’s attention to the growing threat from zoonoses - infectious diseases that jump from animals to humans. The A4AH coalition was formed by working animal charity Brooke in 2021 to advocate for stronger investment in animal health systems, particularly in low and middle income countries with fewer veterinary resources. Members include Compassion in World Farming, Dogs Trust Worldwide, VSF International and the World Vet Association.