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Does animal health surveillance give value for money?
  1. B. Vosough Ahmadi, DVM, MSc, PhD
  1. Land Economy, Environment and Society Research Group, SRUC, Edinburgh EH9 3JG
  1. E-mail: bouda.v.ahmadi{at}

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RATIONALES for government involvement in animal health surveillance (and other aspects of disease prevention and control) can be summarised as being to protect human health against zoonotic disease threat, to protect and promote the health and welfare of animals, to protect the interests of producers, the wider economy, environment and society, and to comply with international trade rules and agreements (Ahuja 2004, Rushton 2009). Several studies have reported the benefits and costs of surveillance schemes (Thurmond 2003, Hadorn and Stärk 2008, Drewe and others 2012, Häsler and others 2013). Their value is to help ensure that the resources needed for disease prevention and control, including both surveillance and intervention, are allocated efficiently in order to maximise the net benefit associated with avoided disease losses for all concerned (Howe and others 2013). This requires information about the activities that consume resources and their outcomes. The expenditure of governments on animal health and veterinary public health can then be evidence based, economically justified and accepted by the general public, experts, politicians and international regulatory bodies. However, surveillance schemes comprise a complex combination of generic and specific activities within the public and private sectors. This requires detailed and unbiased information on surveillance expenditures and on the …

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