The animal health industry should be applauded for its contribution to New Zealand farms, vets, animals, and people. An inaugural report on its value by KPMG and Agcarm underscores an underappreciated industry that’s punching above its weight.
The ‘Assessing the value of the Animal Health Industry to New Zealand’ report showcases a small industry, employing over 1,100 people, with an estimated revenue of $430 million. It provides cutting-edge technology to support the health and wellbeing of animals and helps sustain the industries that generate most of New Zealand’s exports. Without animal health products, animal-based industries would lose $12.68 billion in revenue.
“As well as the industry’s important contribution to our economy and farming industries, the report explains the benefits it has on all our lives. From the animals we love and care for to the food we eat, it benefits our health and our goals in protecting the environment and combating antimicrobial resistance,” says Agcarm’s Technical Manager, Jeff Howe.
Animal health products reduce the environmental footprint of farms by allowing animals to thrive and increasing efficiencies, without the challenges of disease or deficiency. Healthier animals produce more with less; sick animals still create waste and need food and water.
A dairy or sheep and beef farm without these tools would lose up to 40 percent of its productivity. Sick animals are not a good conduit for sustainable farming, healthy protein, food security or the wellbeing of farmers.
Untreated mastitis removes a cow from the milking shed and creates pain and suffering, but the animal still eats grass, releases methane and needs to be cared for.
Vaccinations for Leptospirosis protect cows from passing on the deliberating disease to dairy milkers and meatworkers, preventing further productivity losses.
Medicines alone have an 80% impact on the productivity of the poultry industry. Without them, we would not produce enough affordable, high quality, safe chicken to meet the appetites of New Zealanders – who eat an average of 40 kg each per year, with chicken breast being our second-most affordable source of protein.
As well as farm animals, the report covers our cats and dogs at home, animals who work in biosecurity, for the Police or in guiding, and those involved in sports, such as the Olympic equestrian events.
Dogs and cats riddled with fleas spread disease and create chaos for households and owners alike. Without vaccines, life-threatening diseases could run rife and spread to people.
The effect of sick animals on people’s mental wellbeing is another cause for concern. This is best summarised in the quote, “if you do not allow farmers to have the tools to care for their animals, it is the ‘despair’ that gets them when the animals die”.
Agcarm is the industry association that represents crop protection, animal health and rural supplier businesses. Agcarm members distribute and sell the majority of veterinary medicines and crop protection products in New Zealand. Agcarm members promote responsible use of products right through the product life cycle, from research to disposal.
The report can be found at http://agcarm.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Animal-Medicines-Report-July2021.pdf
For more information, contact:
Jeff Howe, Technical Manager – Animal Health: 027 280 2765
Mark Ross, Chief Executive: 027 442 9965