Stephanie Armstrong, SVP & Cluster Lead Northern Europe at Zoetis tells Animal AgTech how we can implement a One Health approach into animal agriculture.

Stephanie Armstrong, SVP and Cluster Lead Northern Europe, ZOETIS

Following the global pandemic, what efforts are we seeing to adopt a One Health approach in animal agriculture and where can bridges be built to foster greater collaboration between disciplines?
Since COVID, the general awareness about the link between human health and animal health has increased among the public and also among policy makers. Farmers of course, have been dealing with zoonotic diseases for many decades. For example, farmers are familiar with Coronaviruses in animals, known to cause respiratory and enteric problems in calves and chickens.

Many monitoring and control programmes are in place for major zoonotic or emerging animal diseases like Avian Influenza or African and Classical Swine Fever. But of course outbreaks still happen. Research suggest that many of the emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature. While many of these originate in wildlife species, approaches to control infectious disease in domestic animals, especially livestock, are becoming increasingly important.

If we can cooperate more effectively, we can make huge steps. And because there are many facets to One Health, there is also a lot of research and (potential) funding needed. Government can stimulate innovations, and also, make sure that new technologies get adopted more broadly and with speed by farmers. This can be done by integrating new animal health solutions into animal welfare eco-schemes, eligible for funding. This approach is line with the farm-to-fork-strategy on a European Level.

How should start-ups and scale-ups be positioning their technology and messaging to attract more impact investment and improve animal care?
Zoetis invests 10% of its revenue in organic research. And the reason why we are attending the Animal AgTech Innovation Summit, is that we want to convey to start-ups and entrepreneurs we are keen to engage in alliances that strengthen our diverse portfolio of solutions to customers and enrich our ability to think in an integrated way. From building our R&D pipeline in vaccines and therapeutics, to adding new digital and data capabilities, or expanding our product offerings in fast-growing areas like diagnostics, we see a lot of opportunities in collaborating with start-ups to solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges.

What’s on your mind for the rest of the year in terms of key trends shaping the livestock industry?
Over the past decade the standard of care in livestock has moved away from treatment towards more and more preventative care. Immunotherapies, vaccines, genetics and diagnostics are areas of focus for us and ways to keep livestock from getting sick in the first place. Safe and wholesome food starts with healthy animals. Some of the great innovations we see today are around better disease prediction and detection with the use of better diagnostics and smart animal sensors for example.

Moving forward, we see this trend towards preventative care continuing, by using innovative vaccines and an increased use of health promoting feed additives for example. We also see that large animal veterinarians use more targeted treatment interventions, instead of group treatment. This is very much in alignment with stewardship of One Health principles.

At the summit, you will join the Day 1 Opening Plenary to discuss ‘One Health: Ensuring a Healthy Animal Agriculture Sector.’ What are you looking forward to discussing?
First of all, I am looking forward to interacting with leaders of the industry on a topic that requires collective efforts. I will be honoured to represent Zoetis and demonstrate to players in this space that Zoetis are a great partner in advancing our collective efforts and translating research to impact. One Health is top of mind for our regulators and as an industry we would benefit from showing the great work we are doing to bring new solutions to this debate.

Meet the Zoetis team in Amsterdam at their exhibition booth (Stand 3) in the networking area. Stephanie will join the Opening Plenary session on ‘One Health: Ensuring a Healthy Animal Agriculture Sector’ on Tuesday October 10 at 9:15am CEST. The next day, Oliver Boucher, Senior Director at Zoetis will host a roundtable discussion on ‘Taking a One Health Approach to External Innovation’ on Wednesday October 11 at 12:10pm CEST. 

For more information about Zoetis, check out their website here.