Animal health is historically at the core of VSF’s expertise. In many developing countries livestock is crucial for the survival of rural families, as it provides food, savings, traction and fertilisation for crop productions, means for transport, and often also social status. Behind our struggle to improve animal health, welfare and production, we seek therefore ultimately to improve the living conditions of the impoverished families and their communities.
We improve animal health mainly through:
- developing community-based animal health services, which help local farmers to deal with animal diseases. For this, we train livestock keepers to become community animal health workers;
- supporting the establishment of public and private veterinary services in remote areas;
- supporting national and local authorities responsible for livestock;
- raising farmers’ awareness of the need for preventive and curative care and the quality and storage of feed.
We are committed to the preservation, study and application of non-conventional medicine, including ethnoveterinary techniques. Animal health can be maintained firstly through healthy, balanced and continuous nourishment, and thanks to an increased biodiversity that allows to better control parasites (through strengthening animals’ immune systems). We strive to reduce or eliminate the use of drugs that can harm the environment or the health of farmers, farm workers or consumers, and that develop resistance, such as many antibiotics.
We are guided in our actions by the One Health concept, which considers human, animal and ecosystems health as inextricably linked. For this reason we adopt a more holistic approach to health, trying to tackle diseases not only through the use of medicine but also by evaluating the environmental, climatic, social and psycho-emotional situations that can affect pathological phenomena. We combine veterinary with medical services and a more reasoned ecosystem management that contributes to disease prevention and better living environments.