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One-for-all and all-for-one: Breaking down the walls between the livestock, health and environmental sectors


Slide 15: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

Slide 15 of a presentation on one-health approaches made by ILRI director general Jimmy Smith at the 5th biennial conference of the International Association for Ecology & Health in Montreal 11−15 Aug 2014; the presentation was titled: ‘Healthy people, animals and ecosystems for global food and nutritional security’.

Jimmy Smith, the director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), made a keynote presentation on ‘one-health’ at the 5th biennial conference of the International Association for Ecology & Health, held in Montreal, Canada, 11−15 Aug 2014. Smith’s presentation was titled: ‘Healthy people, animals and ecosystems for global food and nutritional security’. ILRI colleagues who input to the making of this presentation were Delia Grace, Fred Unger, Hung Nguyen, Purvi Mehta-Bhatt, Bernard Bett and Shirley Tarawali. This was the very first event of 2014 at which ILRI began officially to mark its 40-year anniversary (the first officially official event to mark our anniversary occurred a month later, in the Czech Republic, at the Tropentag2014 Conference; all our anniversary events are tagged #ILRI40). You can view the whole slide presentation here: Healthy people, animals and ecosystems for global food and nutritional security, ILRI, Aug 2014.

The one-health argument Smith and his colleagues make is essentially as follows.

  • Finding ways to better feed and nourish a population of some 10 billion people by 2050 daunts today’s agricultural scientists, livestock scientists in particular.
  • Much of the world’s livestock food comes from small mixed farms in developing countries. Strong growth in developing-country crop-livestock systems presents big opportunities.
  • We need to produce much more animal-source foods (meat, milk and eggs) and do so in much more sustainable ways — without hurting our environment or threatening public health.
  • The health of people, animals and ecologies depend utterly on each other — and in ways we only partially yet understand.
  • Feeding our growing world sustainably requires breaking down walls between the livestock, health, environmental sectors.
  • Failure to use holistic approaches will fail to find win-win-win solutions for all three sectors.
  • Disaster in any one sector impinges on the others.

Slide 16: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation


Slide 17: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

The nutritional divides among 7 billion people today are severe, with a double burden of hunger and obesity.

Slide 18: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

Slide 19: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

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Slide 21: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation


Slide 22: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

Poor animal health remains a huge burden in developing countries. A deadly dozen zoonotic diseases each year kill 2.2 million people and sicken 2.4 billion, with the greatest burden of zoonoses falling on one billion poor livestock keepers. Diseases from poor countries threaten global industries. And some 75% of emerging diseases come from animals, including livestock.

Slide 23: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

Slide 24: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

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Slide 31: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

Regarding the ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ of livestock production, while livestock emit greenhouse gases, improving production efficiencies is key to reducing their carbon footprints. Although livestock feed can compete with staple crops and biofuels for water and other natural resources, pastures can help store carbon. And while manure can pollute land and water, it is also an important source of organic matter for soil fertility in developing countries.

Slide 32: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

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Slide 35: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

Jimmy Smith then gives examples of ten science options for helping to create sustainable and equitable livestock futures for the benefit of all, and shows how ILRI is employing One-Health approaches to generate these win-win-win options.

Slide 36: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

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Slide 40: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

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Slide 45: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

Slide 46: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation


Smith concludes by arguing that not only are human, animal and ecological health inextricably linked, but they also together form a foundation for global food and nutritional security:

• More food, especially animal-source food, must be produced in new ways that don’t harm our health or environment.
• Human, animal and ecological health are inextricably linked and together form a foundation for food and nutritional security.
• Research is needed not only to produce new knowledge and technologies but also to join up diverse disciplinary and sector expertise in new kinds of productive partnerships.

Slide 48: ILRI 2014 one-health presentation

More information

Visit ilri.org/40 to find out about all the ILRI@40 events.
A playlist of all our videos of the ILRI@40 Addis event is on Youtube.

Blog posts about other ILRI@40 events:

2 thoughts on “One-for-all and all-for-one: Breaking down the walls between the livestock, health and environmental sectors

  1. Reblogged this on Eclectic and commented:
    I do not agree with all of this, but it is a very thoughtful and thorough article that must be read carefully by all those interested in the subject of how a growing population will feed itself. The small third world farmer and the value of well maintained long term grassland as a carbon sink both get little notice, yet are hugely important.

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