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In the first part of the plenary Wooldridge Memorial Lecture at this year's BVA Congress, Peter Roeder described events leading to the worldwide eradication of rinderpest, and the part that British veterinarians played in this process (VR, December 17, 2011, vol 169, pp 650–652). In this, the second part of his lecture, he highlights some of the challenges facing the veterinary profession in 2011, focusing on ways in which it might contribute to the control of transboundary diseases and help to reduce wastage of food.
IN common with the rest of the human race, in the UK we are faced with the problems created by an exponentially growing global population and the consequent need to increase food production without further degrading the environment. The world's human population grew from 1 billion to 2 billion between 1800 and 1930; it has since grown to 7 billion, and is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Alongside this, increasing prosperity in the less economically developed world is bringing with it an increased demand for meat. As a consequence of the two trends, global meat production is increasing and is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050. Similarly, milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes (Steinfeld and others 2006).
In response to the growing demand, there is a move towards intensification of production in ‘mega farms’ and feedlots, not just for conventional species such as cattle, swine, small ruminants and poultry, but also for less conventional species such as dogs, formerly wild viverrids such as palm civets, cane rats, fish and bees. Insect cultivation is widely predicted to be the next major innovation (Carrington 2010).
Intensification of animal production brings with it many challenges. The environmental …