In our industrialized and technologically sophisticated world, the relationship between the environment, animal and human health may seem of limited importance yet that is exactly the opposite. Veterinarians all over the world relate quite well to this fact and that is why they came together to celebrate World Veterinary Day 2020 under the theme ‘Environmental Protection for Improving Animal and Human Health.’
The environment, animal and human health are closely related as any positive or negative change to the environment ultimately has an impact on both animals and humans. Today being World Veterinary Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate your work in protecting our environment for the benefit of animal and human health.
Humans interact with the environment constantly and these interactions affect the quality of life in one way or the other.
Maintaining a healthy environment is central to increasing quality of life and the span of a healthy life to both animals and humans. Globally, we experience deaths that are due to preventable environmental factors.
Changes in animal and human health due to environmental risks
Animals and humans have in the past developed respiratory infections as a result of breathing toxicant releases released into the environment. These infectious have serious impacts on animal and human health and to curb this, industries must find proper ways of releasing the harmful gases from the industries to protect animal and human health. Wastes like papers and plastics when burnt emit gas and chemicals posing a health a health risk, when they diffuse into the air that we breathe.
Deforestation caused by human settlements has had great negative impact on animal and human health. Human beings cut down trees and trees being a great rain attractor, this leads to lack of rain and drought kicks in. Due to lack of water and food, the animal and human health begins to deteriorate leading to death.
Mismanagement of sewage and solid wastes in industries, clinics and households results to negative impacts on animals and humans. Exposure to improperly handled wastes can cause skin irritations, blood infections, respiratory or reproductive issues. Take a case of plastic bottles that when improperly disposed eventually break down and release a carcinogen that contaminates the soil. This does not only have an effect on the soil, but is also unhealthy to humans and plants fed to animals as it can affect reproduction systems, liver dysfunctions and weight loss.
Surface and underground water when contaminated with agents or chemicals can cause mild to severe illness to both animals and humans. Protecting water sources and minimizing exposure to contaminated water sources can be a great step in protecting animal and human health.
Veterinarians fight against COVID -19
During this World Veterinary Day, veterinarians are also working to see that Covid 19 does not continue posing a threat to animal and human lives.
As humans continue to encroach on the environment and erode natural habitats, the livelihoods of diseases like Covid-19 devastating the planet are high. Although the exact origin of Covid 19 is still unknown, it is likely that this new disease is a zoonotic infection that spread from bats, joining a long line of diseases that have been transmitted from animals to humans.
Veterinarians are playing a crucial role in making sure that this zoonotic disease is curbed and does not continue being a threat to both humans and animals. The veterinarian community being an integral part of the global health community have a role in disease prevention and management, including those transmissible to humans such ad Covid -19.
Veterinarians are working day and night to ensure that only healthy animals and their byproducts enter the food chain so as to ensure food safety.
Future directions of veterinarians in protecting the environment, animal and human health
Protecting the environment through programs that manage animal, agricultural waste, disposal of pharmaceuticals in a safe manner and promoting sustainable development to enhance good animal and human health.
Building global surveillance systems to enhance early detection of environmental threats and risks posed to animals and humans.
Ensuring the nutritional value of all foods of the animal origin from the farm to the fork.
Conducting research to advance animal, human and environmental health and welfare.
Veterinarians involved in making policy at the state and national levels through the department of Agriculture can come up with laws that regulate proper disposal of waste that negatively impact the health of animals and humans. This can be done in collaboration with the public health representatives in solving these environmental risks posed to animals. Giving advice on waste and carcass management can be vital in in protecting the environment, animal and human health.
Veterinarians who own veterinary clinics can use environmentally friendly practices by proper disposal of drugs and biological wastes appropriately and also helping clients dispose them in an environmentally friendly way. This will help avoid barbiturate poisoning to animals and humans.