The aggregated livestock farming systems provide a large interface between humans and animals, and farm animals provide a large interface between themselves and wildlife (especially via insect vectors and rodents). Thus, the health of farm animals is of importance.
All commercial livestock systems follow the same template-the cost-effective production of sufficient high-quality animal product of in a regular, sustainable, and reliable manner. Profit from livestock farming is determined from the amount produced, the quality of the product, and the cost of production. Interestingly, disease within farming is simply another cost of production. Economic reasoning (the law of diminishing returns) usually precludes the complete elimination of disease from a population because the generally small economic return arising from the eradication of low prevalence disease does not justify the expense of the program. Most control programs for endemic diseases, consequently, are cost-effective prevalence reduction plans.
Product quality exerts greater influence on farm profit than it has in previous decades because consumers are demanding safety and quality. This requires capability to track food during the journey from "paddock to plate.'' Information about food animals and their veterinary care is available at several points during the production process. Systems for capturing this information are continually being developed in agriculture.
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