We are hearing (and seeing) about possible food shortages in many places due to a multitude of factors. It is incomprehensible that this could happen in today’s world. But faced with reality, we in animal health must take a more active role in bringing solutions to improve efficiency of food production while ensuring good animal welfare.
The innovation and technology our products bring have a major impact on the availability of food. For example, certain pharmaceuticals such as beta-agonists are currently banned in many countries despite their proven safety and tremendous impacts on feed efficiency. Will the barriers continue when the world is going hungry? Or will we let retail beef consumption drop significantly because it is simply unaffordable due to the high costs of inputs? It will take some brave people from our industry to reopen these discussions.
Now comes the story of baby formula. Again, it’s unfathomable that in our country we would ever run out of such a critical item. I wonder if the CVM could help their colleagues in the FDA because I have found them to be very practical in solving issues, while adhering to their standards and principles. Earlier in my career, I was involved with an issue of supply with a unique product in the US market. As we were not going to be able to supply, we were able to work with the CVM to have a pragmatic withdrawal that ensured a safe transition for the affected animals. Someone should have really thought through shutting down 40% of the nation’s supply of baby formula!