Why we vaccinate livestock animals
November 22, 2018 Jane Alice Liu By Jane Alice Liu Follow

Why we vaccinate livestock animals

Hate vaccinations? Yeah, me too. But if I had to choose between taking a vaccine or getting a flu that forces me to stay in bed all day and night? I’d probably go with the vaccine.

I’m not sure how animals would feel about getting sick (they probably hate it just as much as I do), but vaccinations are commonly used in agricultural livestock to keep animals healthy, improve meat quality and fertility.

The latest vaccines are able to target and prevent specific diseases like Bluetongue (ew), Bovine Tuberculosis (gross), and Foot and Mouth Disease (I wouldn’t Google this if I were you).

Here are 7 quick facts about meat vaccination in Europe: 1,2

  1. The latest vaccines target specific infectious diseases.
  2. Vaccines can either be injected, sprayed or mixed in with livestock drinking water.
  3. Vaccines are either used routinely or during an emergency outbreak (e.g. mad-cow disease).
  4. Vaccines are made of antigen, adjuvants and excipients.3
  5. The European Medicines Agency oversees and authorises vaccination in agricultural livestock.
  6. They’re considered safe for both your health and the animals’. All vaccines used must meet the EMA’s standards.
  7. Vaccines reduces the need for antimicrobial treatment, limiting antimicrobial evolution and resistance (this is one of the main differences between vaccines vs antibiotics).

What vaccines are made of

Of course, vaccines aren’t perfect and can definitely be controversial, but it’s a start to improving animal and public health. They’ve been tested and verified to ensure safety for animals, you (if you eat meat), your friends and family, and even strangers that you pass by on the street - basically, everyone in this food chain.

What do you think of meat vaccination? Share your ideas and concerns in the comments below!

FAQ: Livestock Vaccinations

Is livestock vaccinations safe for humans?
Yes, the purpose of vaccinations is exactly for safety when consuming meat.

Does vaccination residue affect human health?
According to the European Medicines Agency’s regulations, each vaccine is given a “maximum residue limit”, meaning that vaccines do not pose a hazard to human health. Vaccines are also continuously monitored to maintain their usage safety.

Who oversees vaccination quality and safety?
The European Medicines Agency. You can find more about them here.

How are livestock animals vaccinated?
They’re injected with the vaccine, just as if you were going into the doctor’s office for a vaccine injection. You can read more about the process here.

Why do we vaccinate livestock animals?
To ensure that diseases don’t spread and kill the livestock animals, which keeps consumers who eat meat safe from the same diseases.

What are animal vaccines made of?
Three components: antigens, adjuvants, excipients.

November 22, 2018 Jane Alice Liu By Jane Alice Liu Follow

References

  1. “Ensuring the safety of meat from vaccinated animals in Europe.” European Food Information Council. Accessed 13th November 2018.
  2. “Livestock Vaccines”. Houses of Parliament. Accessed 13th November 2018.
  3. Fox et. al (2013). “Working together: interactions between vaccine antigens and adjuvants”.