Brussels, 20 April 2022 –  In today’s world, as we have experienced too well, the disease is unpredictable. This is particularly true for diseases linked to infections caused by novel strains of micro-organisms. So, we need to remain both alert and prepared for disease threats posed to our companion animals, livestock, and other animals.

Disease outbreaks such as Lumpy Skin Disease, Avian Influenza, and Rabies can of course have major consequences on the agri-economy and public health, but this World Animal Vaccination Day we have joined forces to raise awareness on the benefits of vaccination for better animal welfare.

Some of the companion animal diseases for which vaccines exist are so debilitating that most people wouldn’t think twice about protecting their pets through vaccination. However, vaccination which is an important part of herd health management is often overlooked for its welfare benefits. Yet, some livestock diseases can cause fever, sores, lethargy, and other painful symptoms, and are sometimes fatal.

Vaccination promotes animal welfare by protecting animal health and can also serve to support disease control during outbreaks as a viable alternative to culling, helping to avoid on-farm welfare problems. Benefits go hand-in-hand, as protecting animal health through vaccination leads to improved animal welfare, and maintaining good welfare ensures that animals can respond successfully to vaccination.

FVE Chair, Rens van Dobbenburgh, speaking on behalf of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe commented: “Human health and wellbeing have largely benefited from vaccination of animals. Prevention of animal disease via vaccination has diminished serious health threats, e.g. rabies, and has contributed to food safety and security. It has also contributed to the welfare of our kept animals. Vaccination will become even more important in the future. We cannot do without it!”.

Speaking for the companion animal veterinary federation in Europe, FECAVA President Denis Novak stated: “The recent debates about human vaccine safety have left many pet owners wondering whether their dogs and cats should be vaccinated. No medication is without risk, but the benefits of vaccinating pets certainly outweigh the few risks because many common vaccinations in pets protect against devastating diseases, such as rabies. Vaccinations not only protect pets; they are also a component of human disease prevention. Vaccination also reduces the number of pharmaceutical treatments (such as antibiotics) needed to control established diseases and, in many instances, has prevented long term suffering and death. Vaccination remains the single most effective method for protecting against infectious disease in healthy animals.”

Roxane Feller, AnimalhealthEurope Secretary-General added: “Developments in vaccine technologies mean that the animal health industry can provide a range of prevention options for new and existing diseases when they are needed. These innovations alongside modern administration methods and tools can help vets, farmers and other animal owners vaccinate animals with less hassle and better frequency to protect, not just their health, but also their welfare.”

– ENDS –

• World Animal Vaccination Day – 20 April – is an initiative of HealthforAnimals and the World Veterinary Association, occurring annually ahead of European Immunisation Week.
AnimalhealthEurope represents 13 of Europe’s leading manufacturers of animal health products and 17 national associations. It represents innovators and generics alike, as well as large, medium-sized and small companies.
FECAVA – Federation of Companion Animal Veterinary Associations represents more than 25,000 companion animal veterinarians in 40 European countries.
• FVE – Federation of Veterinarians of Europe is an umbrella organisation of veterinary organisations from 38 European countries.