You are what you eat. This phrase is used to encourage us to think carefully about our food choices.
November 22, 2021 7:01 p.m.
From Kumar Ranjan,
Over the past three decades it has become increasingly clear that most of the novel infectious and zoonotic diseases originate in animals. It is estimated that approximately 1 billion cases and millions of deaths from disease occur worldwide each year, and approximately 60% of the newly emerging infectious diseases reported worldwide are zoonoses. The COVID-19 pandemic, a human public health crisis resulting from a virus of potentially animal origin, has underscored the validity of the One Health approach to understanding and managing global health risks. In short, One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach – working at the local, regional, national and global levels – with the aim of achieving optimal health outcomes by bridging the connection between people, animals, plants and their common environment.
How does animal nutrition affect human health?
Humans require protein for various body functions, including muscle and cell development, and the major sources of protein are naturally found in animals. Food of animal origin is particularly suitable for combating malnutrition and a number of nutritional deficiencies. Recent studies have shown that protein needs have increased significantly after the pandemic, as protein is a great ally in combating COVID-19 infection. The current protein requirement for the 7.3 billion people of the world is approximately 202 million tons worldwide.
You are what you eat. This phrase is used to encourage us to think carefully about our food choices. And when we think about what we eat, what effects does the diet of the animals we eat as humans have? Animal nutrition not only has a direct impact on animal health, but also indirectly through animal products on human health and through excretions on the environment. Animals are also prone to some diseases and environmental hazards. Because of this, they can sometimes serve as early warning signs of a possible human disease.
How does animal nutrition deal with the threat to our environment?
The CO2 footprint of a product becomes part of the “License to Production” and thus a purchase argument for buyers. Buyers ask cattle farmers to provide insight into the carbon footprint of milk and meat. In this way you can prove that the products supplied have a lower environmental impact. Protein production from animals can pose a burden to the environment and human health due to contamination, but only because industries in developing countries lack good animal production practices.
Emissions from India rank third on the global list, accounting for 2.46 billion tons of carbon or 6.8% of total global emissions. However, India’s per capita CO2 emissions are still low at 1.84 tonnes compared to the US at 16.21 tonnes. The right choice of animal feed reduces the carbon footprint. The use of compound feed or by-products with a low carbon footprint reduces the carbon footprint of milk and meat.
Maintaining animal health through feeding programs based on a better understanding of the close links between gut health, the immune system and animal resistance to infectious diseases and environmental stressors is an important imperative to addressing environmental issues.
Proper animal nutrition can not only create balance, but also solve the problem of food security. It is becoming increasingly clear that solving complex global health and environmental problems requires a multidisciplinary approach, but one that starts with an emphasis on providing nutritious nutrition to our livestock.
(The author is the founder and CEO of E-Feed. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policies of Financial Express Online.)
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