Agricultural expansion and changes in land use can lead to negative impacts to both human and animal health, including exposure to pathogens and emergence of new diseases. Encroachment on wildlife habitat and wet markets are prime locations for pathogen spillover events. Furthermore, the use of antibiotics in livestock also poses the potential to give rise to new antibiotic resistant pathogens.
Continued investment in animal and plant health diagnostic tools, implementation of more sustainable land and antibiotic use practices, and closer monitoring of domestic and international animal trade can better protect agricultural production systems, food production workers, and reduce disease outbreaks. Innovative animal and plant health diagnostic technologies, standards, and other surveillance measures are critical to detecting and preventing animal and plant diseases prior to human infection. By strengthening domestic and international partnerships with agricultural and environmental stakeholders, the United States can expand surveillance, detection, and reporting capacity in wildlife, livestock, companion animals, and other animals with high spillover risk. In addition, dedicating greater resources and expanding international cooperation to increase enforcement of wildlife trade regulations, including at points of entry, can also mitigate the risk of spillover events and diseases entering U.S. territory.
Promoting sustainable agricultural practices can protect the health of plant and animal populations while also improving U.S. food safety and food security. One potential line of effort is to increase investment in applied research of locally relevant interventions that increase the health of animals and reduce the incidence of infections along the food value chain.