Posted by Dirk Ehle | 19/08/2020
The pandemic has transformed our lives, writes Dirk Ehle, the newly-appointed Executive Vice President and President of Elanco Europe. But as an industry we must stand firm in our beliefs, and go further than ever before to futureproof food security and livelihoods for the next generations of Europeans.
It feels like a lifetime away, but just a few short months ago the animal health industry set out a range of solutions for more sustainable food production across Europe.
Ahead of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy, we outlined a series of measures that spoke to our defining beliefs as an industry and the paramount importance of animal health and welfare.
So much has changed for all of us since. And yet as I read the discussion paper back today, it seems to me that these beliefs are not only still relevant – they’re even more important as we collectively face the recovery from this global pandemic.
Back in March, we called on the EU to gather evidence-based, fact-checked information on the livestock industry, to allow consumers to make informed decisions about what they eat.
This same principle applies today, as we see unfounded claims emerge about the origins of the current pandemic, with livestock baselessly identified as the source.
Current evidence points to a journey from wild animals to humans of course, with ongoing research confirming that domestic livestock production is safe, and has not played a role in the spread of Covid-19.1
So we must work to fight any harmful misconceptions – not least because they may be preventing people in some of the world’s poorest communities accessing essential protein.
The Farm to Fork submission also highlighted the livestock industry’s crucial role in disease prevention, and this leadership in biosecurity is even more important today.
After all, this is a highly-monitored, regulated system, with hardworking producers taking every precaution possible to ensure the safe supply of our food.
Our submission also emphasized a One Health perspective, which has been brought into even sharper focus for me in recent months. It has never been more clear to me that we are all part of a truly global community, deeply interconnected with the health of our animals and our shared environment.
And our broader commitment to our shared environment must not be forgotten, even as we face so many other challenges. It’s on us as an industry to keep innovating vaccines, digital tools and medicines to protect animal well-being and support farmers in their own drive for sustainable practices.
These same innovations will be crucial in supporting the livelihoods and growth of our producers, who in turn will support us all in our recovery. Animal agriculture has always been an engine of economic growth and food security for people across our continent – we need it now, more than ever.
I begin my new role at Elanco at a time of transformative change. And yet I see the same compassion and commitment to the health of animals in our people every day. I see the same core beliefs spurring us on to do our very best for the livestock industry.
So much has changed, and yet our values remain.
Follow Dirk on his Social Media Channels, Linked In and Twitter @DirkEhle.