In an increasingly crowded world, with our natural resources under ever more strain, achieving the SDGs requires doing more with less

By 2030, our global population is expected to grow to 8.5 billion – nearly 1 billion more than live on our planet today. Sustainably providing for their health and livelihoods is paramount.

This challenge is why the United Nations established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — our global “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” by 2030.

However, the United Nations estimates the world is behind in achieving the SDGs and current efforts are “insufficient.” We must dramatically increase and accelerate our efforts if we are to achieve these goals in the coming decade.

To do so, our world must consider the role of animals. Outbreaks of livestock disease can reduce production of meat, milk and eggs, leading to shortages of these nutrient-rich foods. Meanwhile, pathogens in wildlife can cross over into vulnerable populations of people and domestic animals, as we saw with Covid-19.

Our future is clearly intertwined with animals and the environment. All three share “One Health”. What affects one, will affect the others. It’s why improving the health of animals can strengthen efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Quick facts

Increased adoption of existing animal health, husbandry, feed, and management technologies and best practices could lower livestock emissions by as much as 30%.

Research has found that cattle disease can increase GHG emissions by up to 24% per unit of milk and 113% per beef carcass.

A fall in livestock disease of 10 percentage points is associated with an 800 million tonne decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, equivalent to the emissions of 117 million Europeans

When 20% of poultry globally are affected by disease each year, 8.6% more land is estimated to be necessary to maintain expected production levels

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