Article Text

Stratospheric ozone depletion and animal health
  1. SJ Mayer

Abstract

There is an increasing concern over ozone depletion and its effects on the environment and human health. However, the increase in ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) that would result from significant losses of ozone is also potentially harmful to animals. Any increase in disease in domestic species would not only have serious animal welfare implications but may also be economically important. The diseases which are likely to increase if ozone depletion continues include the squamous cell carcinomas of the exposed, non-pigmented areas of cats, cattle, sheep and horses. Uberreiter's syndrome in dogs is also associated with exposure to UV-B and may be expected to increase, as may the severity of conditions such as infectious keratoconjunctivitis (New Forest eye) in cattle. Aquaculture systems in which fish often have little or no protection by shading may also be at risk. Cataracts and skin lesions have been associated with the exposure of farmed fish to ultraviolet radiation and have resulted in significant losses.

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