February 20, 2020
Many of you may be familiar with what is called “One Health.” One Health is the understanding that human health, animal health, and the health of the environment are inexorably linked. The three are, and will always be, interconnected.
Some of the links are obvious. Zoonotic disease, illnesses that affect both humans and animals and can be transferred between them is a clear example. Overuse of antibiotics in humans and food animals has led to drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
Changes in our environment in the form of global climate change, has led to catastrophic events like the wildfires that are raging in Australia. The fires have killed dozens of humans and millions of animals, and will likely affect the health of both for years to come. When our discarded plastic enters the ocean, it affects the health of not only marine life, but also the humans who consume it.
Increasingly, we are realizing that there cannot be healthy humans without healthy animals and that neither can thrive without the environment that we all share. The health of each is not distinct — there is only one health.
What remains to be seen is if we recognize it quickly enough and whether we will take the actions necessary to preserve all three.
President & CEO