CIEL | Investing in Animal Health July 2023

Good animal health is crucial in tackling the grand challenges facing the livestock sector, and presents an exciting opportunity to deliver positive outcomes with One Health benefits for animals, people and the planet.

There is a rich animal health ecosystem in the UK related to farmed, equine and companion animals, and across value chains associated with food production, animal care and recreational activities.

There is a clear need for these strengths to be capitalised on to deliver enhanced animal health and welfare outcomes which support sustainable farming systems while delivering universally high standards of animal care. This need is particularly pressing in relation to delivering ambitious goals rapidly, such as those for achieving Net Zero in the UK by 2050.

Grand challenges such as climate change, food security and endemic disease require adoption of innovative technologies to improve animal health and welfare. Collaboration and capability will be critical for success in achieving this. We need to invest in new or improved animal health products and services.

The UK is a global hub for R&D and innovation excellence in animal health, including key investments by CIEL in world-leading research capability

CIEL’s report ‘Investing in Animal Health’ draws together the breadth of opportunities in animal health where investment can make a significant difference. It makes the case for the UK being ideally positioned for such investment, with the benefits able to be captured by integrated supply chains here and rolled out overseas. It covers the livestock, aquaculture, equine and companion animal sectors to highlight common challenges and opportunities – many of which are cross cutting.

CIEL is ideally positioned to facilitate initiatives in research and innovation, being highly engaged with industry, academia and government in the UK. ‘Investing in Animal Health‘ is designed to highlight the importance of animal health to the future of our food industry and for animals we count as companions and partners in our recreational activity.

The report was accompanied by a special launch webinar where we were joined by report author Prof. Alex Cook from the University of Surrey, who shared highlights from the publication, as well as a discussion panel with guests including NOAH CEO Dawn Howard and Dr Simon Doherty from Queen’s University Belfast. This is now available to watch in the Member area of the CIEL website

If you have a particular interest in future events and initiatives CIEL is planning around this topic area, please indicate this on the enquiry form and we’ll be in touch to discuss further.

Report now available – Investing in Animal Health

If you have any questions please fill out the form below. Please make sure you include reference to report title ‘Investing in Animal Health’ in your accompanying message to ensure we direct your enquiry to the correct person.

    There are a wide range of benefits that stem from investing in animal health summarised in this report. Delivering these requires innovation in multiple disciplines,expertise and research, coupled with strong industry engagement to provide value to stakeholders.

    Collaboration is needed within and across science, business, and government. The UK animal health ecosystem combines world-leading expertise in animal health, promoting connectivity, stimulating economic development, and driving innovation to make it ideally placed to deliver industry relevant innovations for animal health and welfare.

    A key benefit of improving animal health is to tackle current and future grand challenges

    Grand challenges facing the livestock sector, such as achieving Net Zero, reducing environmental impact, producing food sustainably, and tackling fundamental issues to One Health and animal welfare, require innovative animal health solutions. We similarly share a responsibility to protect the welfare of our companion animals and horses, with animal health a common prerequisite to achieving these ambitions. This vision can be realised with a One Health approach that considers people and animals within our shared environment.

    The animal health ecosystem is evolving to meet grand challenges

    We are now in the fourth industrial age as the digital revolution changes every aspect of our lives. The surge of new knowledge and innovation in data science opens new opportunities to solve the issues we must address. To deliver the gains wanted, and to do so in the timeframes required to achieve Net Zero ambitions, we need a creative balance of science and business to innovate, develop and implement new ways of working. Invariably this will change existing business models, some to a greater degree than others. Successful businesses are doing this already, offering broader ranges of products and services for companion and production animals, such as therapeutics, diagnostics, vaccines, nutrition, and digital solutions. Driven by data and developments in biotechnology and genomics, to name a few, health is increasingly being managed preventatively with early detection promising precision medicine.

    The UK has world leading animal health capability

    The UK enjoys a globally renowned reputation for excellence in research and education for animal health and welfare. A vibrant community develops, attracts and nurtures innovation from startups, SMEs and global companies. There is both a depth and breadth of livestock research capacity and capability, with world class facilities, several of which are supported by CIEL. Examples include the Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF) at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Nottingham Centre for Dairy Science Innovation (CDSI). In addition, the Pirbright Institute, a site of global strategic importance in animal health, and a network of research-intensive veterinary universities, together with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), are collectively key elements in a diverse and active animal health ecosystem across the UK.

    There is a mature but developing animal health market for livestock and companion animals

    Livestock are integral to our way of life, providing high quality nutrients to feed our growing population, whilst companion animals are at the heart of families, providing companionship and assistance. Pet ownership is growing and serviced by an array of companion animal health and associated care products and services. Further improvements in livestock production efficiency require higher health systems, and demand also arises from the drive for more sustainable food production and reduced carbon emissions, the threats of endemic and exotic diseases, and potential trade restrictions. Data and data science are providing opportunities for both livestock and companion animals through the added value delivered by new digital technologies and business models focussed on enhancing quality of life, improving preventative medicine, and delivering precision veterinary medicine.

    The UK animal health sector is a globally connected innovation investment opportunity

    The thriving UK animal health sector is globally connected with established supply chains and links to markets and other science-driven economies. With the presence of leading multi-national and local animal health companies, whose portfolios span products and services for companion and production animals such as therapeutics, diagnostics, vaccines, nutrition, and digital solutions, the UK is well-positioned to drive innovation, collaboration and promote sustainable practices across the animal health sector.

    There is a clear and multi-faceted opportunity for investment in animal health based on challenges across the livestock, aquaculture, equine and companion animal sectors. The UK has a collaborative and innovative ecosystem that can deliver the solutions needed to address these challenges.

    Those solutions should consider the complex interactions between health, nutrition, welfare, genetics and environment in the management and care of animals.
    Common challenges for livestock include sustainability, farm profitability and environmental impact. Health management through prevention, early detection and timely treatment is central to many One Health issues, such as AMR, where vaccines and responsible antibiotic use are becoming established norms throughout the UK. Despite progress in some areas, we need to focus efforts on endemic disease challenges and ever present zoonotic and exotic disease threats.

    A step change through greater use of objective monitoring systems could catalyse widespread and more rapid progress. These can integrate housing parameters, such as ventilation, air and water quality with living space, environmental enrichment, productivity metrics and expression of behaviours to monitor and manage, health and welfare.

    Collaboration is the key to drive data sharing, enabling integration and interoperability with analytics and good accessibility, promoting adoption and safeguarding security whilst recognising data ownership. Benchmarking as a function of these innovations can incentivise uptake, monitor progress and drive improvements in outcomes.

    Companion animals and horses sit at the heart of UK society, with challenges focussed on nutritional problems such as obesity, genetics and the effects of conformational deformities on health and welfare arising from some pedigree breeding in dogs and cats, along with the control of infectious disease. All regulatory environments need to keep pace with science and innovation, where the challenge is allowing innovation to flourish while reducing the time to end-user adoption. In animal health, this is the case for veterinary medicines, provision of world leading veterinary care and empowering a science-based research and development environment that attracts global talent and investment.

    The animal health investment proposition in the UK is attractive based on market potential, access to world class research capability and facilities, and the growing need for solutions that sustainably improve food security and safety, whilst providing services to companion animals valued by society and for our wellbeing.

    CIEL is in the ideal position to connect these strengths and capitalise on opportunities. Contact us to find out more.

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