September 22, 2011

Healthy Animals, Healthy Canada

The Expert Panel on Approaches to Animal Health Risk Assessment

Summary

Animal health has a direct impact on the health of Canadians, the economy, and the environment. The majority of emerging diseases in humans have their origin in the animal kingdom. Economic losses related to animal health events include reduced trade flows, lost incomes for farm families and fewer jobs in agricultural industries. Environmental consequences include the disruption of domestic ecological systems.

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The Question

What is the state and comprehensiveness of risk assessment techniques in animal health science, specifically pertaining to risks that may impact on human health?

Key Findings

Applying the proper risk assessment techniques, based on scientific knowledge and international best practices, can help to mitigate the negative impacts of animal health events.

In 2009, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), asked the CCA to assess the state and comprehensiveness of risk assessment techniques in animal health science, specifically pertaining to risks which may impact human health.

After examining the evidence, the Expert Panel determined that animal health risk assessment in Canada is built on a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise; however, risk assessment practices can be enhanced.

The Panel also found that in order for Canada to stay at the forefront of animal health risk assessment there are numerous activities that can be improved such as: strengthening expertise and knowledge capacity; considering a broader range of consequences related to an animal health event; improving communication among risk assessors, managers and stakeholders; enhancing the transparency of the decision-making process; and setting aside resources for foresight assessments.

 

Expert Panel

The Expert Panel on Approaches to Animal Health Risk Assessment

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