Globally, the demand for animal protein is rapidly rising and is expected to double by the year 2050. This is as a result of the increasing population of people in world emerging economies such as South Africa. Apart from animal food demand, the conservation of wild animals that act as tourist attractions also is a great issue of concern considering that a great deal of developing countries in Africa rely largely on the tourism sector to get foreign exchange.
By improving the quality, quantity and good health of animals, their welfare and production, we will be able to meet the current demands for animal food products and the need to have more tourists to flock into our national reserves and animal orphanages. This will consequently have a positive impact on our national economy.
As we discuss the health and welfare of animals and livestock, it is crucial to realize that veterinary medicine and vaccines are fundamental tools in facilitating these needs.
Role of veterinarians in the national economy
It is clear that veterinarians have a great role in ensuring we have a sustainable and thriving economy as a nation. Through maintaining good animal health and sustainable production patterns, the veterinarians are directly contributing to the national economy in the following ways:
- Food security
By using animal health products, veterinarians have been able to ensure delivery of safe and affordable food to the people. This is really helping to meet the increased demand for good quality animal food products.
Advanced livestock breeding and nutrition incorporated with the use of animal health products has transformed the sector of livestock agriculture and food production. Animal mortality rates have been significantly cut down, resulting in sufficient production of animal food products. It is clear that animal health has a direct connection to food security in the world today.
- Sustainable food production
Most developed and developing countries rely significantly on animal production for the livelihoods of their people. The farmers sell animal products which are bought by middle class consumers. Sustainability here depends on the quality of the products and availability of the market.
In this regard, the use of animal health products by veterinarians has resulted in healthy and better productivity of animal products and an improved us of natural resources to attain this. Consequently, there is sustainable development of livestock farming and availability of ready market for animal products.
The livelihoods of the farming community are greatly dependent on these animal health products, if the production is of high quality and sustainable, the agricultural economy and food demand of the nation is secured. Due to increased demand for the high quality animal food products, there is a steady improvement in sustainable procurement around the nation. It is estimated that the absence of modern veterinary services today could call for an increase of livestock by 89% to meet the current demand for animal products. This can clearly shows the significance of veterinarians in economic sustainability.
- Tourism Sustainability
The role of veterinarians in economic growth goes beyond domestic livestock used for food products. Providing animal health care and attention to wild animals also has significance in the economy of a nation. Good health of wild animals in the national parks and reserves results in a decline in their mortality rates. These wild animals attract tourists hence bringing the nation foreign exchange. South Africa is one of the countries whose tourism sector plays an integral part in the economic growth. Millions of tourists flock in every year to view and interact with wild animals.
It is worth noting that these animals, most especially the endangered species are given regular attention by veterinarians to ensure they are in proper health constantly and are able to reproduce naturally within their ecosystems. This ensures availability of these species all round the year for tourist attraction, resulting in constant influx of foreign exchange into the country. The veterinarians also work with environmentalists to ensure existence of a balanced ecosystem where natural resources are not overused. The services of veterinarians can be clearly seen to have significance in the tourism sector, which has a direct impact on the economy of the nation.
It is evident that maintaining good health and sustainability of animals and their populations is crucial to food production and the economy in South Africa. Veterinarians have the task of upholding this economy by using animal health products to provide safe food and ensure reduce mortality rates for both livestock and wild animals in their natural reserves.