Current status of economics applied to animal health (EAH): Findings from stakeholder and literature surveys

J.K. Niemi, A. Waret-Szkuta, J. Gethmann, M. Aragrandem, H. Hogeveen, B. Häsler, J.F. Agger, A. Aunsmo, S. Babo Martins, H. Benanni, M. Canali, M.G. Doherr, M.A. Fontes, C.R. Guerri, A.M. Heikkilä, J. Heikkilä, K. Heinola, K. Howe, D.W. Höreth-Böntgen, E. JacksonC. Kamphuis, A. Nigsch, L. Ózsvári, J.M. Pettersen, D. Raboisson, M.P. Reichel, K.M. Rich, H.W. Saatkamp, P. Sans, S. Sartore, C. Staubach, K. Stärk, B. Vosough Ahmadi, I. Vågsholm, C. Yalcin, A. Zabavnik, J. Piano, J. Rushton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Animal health is a critical factor in the livestock sector. Animal diseases reduce production, food security and safety, and impact on animals’ welfare. To get the benefits from disease control, resources must be invested and costs incurred. Thus a disease is of economic concern and economic aspects play a role in animal health related decision-making. Limited information is available on how economics is being used in the context of animal health. The goal of this study was to examine the contents of teaching and research on economics applied to animal health (EAH). A systematic literature survey and an on-line survey were undertaken to address the research question. The on-line questionnaire was distributed via email to 677 targeted respondents (educational institutions, public and other organizations in Europe and elsewhere) and publicly via mailing lists and the NEAT network website in May 2013. Altogether, 246 persons from 35 different countries responded the survey. The survey asked about currently offered teaching, current use and needs regarding EAH. Peer-reviewed and other publications on EAH were searched in Ebsco Discovery Service reference database, AgEconSearch and contributed by NEAT members. After a primary screening, relevant literature (850 publications) was assessed, the main contents were systematically collated and the publications were categorized. In this presentation descriptive statistics are being presented Educational institutions that offer EAH training provide generic EAH training and specialized training in course format. Current undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programs in educational institutions are mainly based on general economics concepts and delivered as lectures combined with exercises. Elearning is not widely used although the need for it was identified by respondents. The topics covered by the current programs in educational institutions were diverse, but tend to focus on introductory economic topics (80% of a total of 60 curricula) with practical examples, and be targeted to (veterinary) students and veterinarians in the profession. The literature survey suggests that half of the reviewed literature focuses on Europe. The most common study methods used were simulation, review & discussion and surveys covering various approaches. In recent years the emphasis has shifted towards positive methods where evidence is based on empirical data. A limited number of publications used in-depth methods to improve the capacity to understand stakeholders’ behavior. The publications were the most frequently of generic or multiple-disease focus. A specific focus was often on certain highly contagious (e.g. FMD 10%) or endemic diseases (e.g. mastitis 5%) or food safety hazards (e.g. Salmonella 5%, BSE 3%). Only 21% of the articles were published in applied economics journals. The results suggest that EAH tends to focus on basic economics. There seems to be some inconsistency in both training and literature. Survey respondents expressed concerns regarding the limited education on economic decision making and the assessment of the economic impacts of animal diseases. An increasing importance regarding the use of EAH in the future was anticipated by respondents. This should motivate the development of teaching methods and materials which strengthen the understanding of animal health problems as economic problems with a wider variety of applied approaches. This review was conducted in a working group and the report was produced by lead participants. Apart from the task leaders, the names of authors occur in an alphabetical order.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts Economics of Animal Health and Welfare: Heterogeneity, emerging issues and incentives for change
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventNJF seminar 476: Economics of Animal Health and Welfare, Hämeenlinna, Finland -
Duration: 2 Oct 20143 Oct 2014


SeminarNJF seminar 476: Economics of Animal Health and Welfare, Hämeenlinna, Finland


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