Contributing to a sustainable future 

With the global population expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, we will face significant challenges in providing for the health and livelihoods of people worldwide. Recognizing this, in 2015, the United Nations set out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals provide a roadmap to a more sustainable future and achieving them will be key to providing for our growing global population.
This month’s issue focuses on the essential role animal health will play in achieving these goals and creating a more sustainable future for us all – from livestock providing pathways out of poverty to pets supporting our mental health. Read on to find out more.

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The members of HealthforAnimals represent around 90% of the animal health sector and our network has the expertise and resources needed to support progression towards the SDGs through a global collaborative effort. Our sector can act as a champion for the global movement towards greater sustainability.
Here and in our new Sustainability Actions Report we outline some of the key challenges faced by the sector and how we are helping to solve them:
A warming world and the extreme weather that comes with it will create particular challenges for agriculture. Therefore, we need to rethink how we raise livestock and supply the necessary inputs.

The Animal Health sector is not only providing new ways to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat livestock illness, our companies are changing how we develop products. Commitments to 100% renewable energy, ‘greener’ packaging, carbon neutral production sites, sharp reductions in waste production, and other steps are helping drastically reduce the environmental footprint of our supply chain.
Both the physical and mental wellbeing of millions worldwide is under threat, with hunger and malnutrition widespread and underfunding of mental health services leaving hundreds of millions to suffer silently with depression.

Animals can support the nutritional needs of growing populations, and our members are working to increase equitable food access. Programs to strengthen the nutrition of 57+ million people worldwide and training livestock farmers in better production practices are helping lead the way. Furthermore, investments in assistance dog training and pet care are helping more people experience the mental health benefits of companion animals. 

Many communities have suffered real hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. And with climate change set to drive millions more into poverty in the next decade, there is plenty of work to do to support the hardest hit communities.

The Animal Health sector is also a major source of employment and many of our members are supporting social action campaigns and other initiatives that help employees and the neighborhoods where they live and work.

Our sector also recognizes the value of veterinarians, which is why companies are donating millions of dollars in scholarships every year to help train the next generation. 

As these examples show, the animal health sector is embracing the global push to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and has the potential to make a real difference over the coming decade. To find out more about these efforts and others like them, check out our Environmental, Health, and Communities: Animal Health Sector Sustainability Actions Report. 
Animal agriculture will be at the heart of the animal health sector’s contribution to meeting the SDGs because developing more sustainable food production can bring social, economic and environmental benefits.
The following three facts show how animal agriculture can help contribute to a more sustainable future. 

1. Livestock can produce food in areas that would otherwise be unproductive
Two thirds of the world’s agricultural lands are permanent meadows and pastures. Placing livestock on this land can support food security as the global population continues to rise.
2. Animal agriculture feeds the global economy
Animal agriculture contributes a whopping US $1.27 trillion to global economies and provides livelihoods for 1 in 6 people worldwide, making it the third most important source of income.
3. New technology means more sustainable animal products
Livestock contributes an estimated 5% of direct greenhouse gas emissions. But innovation in animal nutrition, digital monitoring, new vaccines and more is already reducing the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
While challenges remain, the contributions of the livestock sector are helping to deliver on the UN’s vision of a more sustainable future for all. To find out more about livestock, animal health and sustainability – read our recent report Achieveing the SDGs - the Value of Health Animals 
“A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish the more than 690 million people who are hungry today – and the additional 2 billion people the world will have by 2050. Increasing agricultural productivity and sustainable food production are crucial to help alleviate the perils of hunger.”

United Nations
Industrialized nations have reduced land use for livestock by 20% in recent decades while doubling production.

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