Planetary boundaries and Veterinary Services

R. G. Alders*, M. V. Chadag, N. C. Debnath, M. Howden, F. Meza, M. A. Schipp, E. S. Swai, K. Wingett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


National Veterinary Services (NVS) play a crucial role in animal health, production and welfare. They are also intimately involved with safeguarding global health security and the health of the planet. Climate change is just one of the nine planetary boundaries (PBs), i.e. Earth system processes, that can be used to monitor the vital signs of our living planet. In this paper, the authors identify the positive and negative impacts of human-induced management of aquatic and terrestrial animals in relation to these PBs. In the context of NVS, the authors provide an overview of the real and potential impacts of NVS policies on Earth systems and offer suggestions as to how new sustainability paradigms may assist with reviewing and revising NVS mandates and facilitating stakeholder engagement. Opportunities are proposed for the World Organisation for Animal Health to contribute to the global debate on the role of aquatic and terrestrial animal agriculture and wildlife in sustainable development. In addition, the paper suggests that a wider debate is required in relation to recent significant increases in domestic animal populations and PBs. Intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration are required to achieve the transformation of the framework in which NVS operate. While such transformations cannot be driven by the veterinary profession alone, veterinarians have proven very effective operators in the One Health arena. By building on these intersectoral linkages, it will be possible for our profession and NVS to actively contribute to the crucial discussions and transformations required to pull Earth system metrics back within safe boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-453
Number of pages15
JournalOIE Revue Scientifique et Technique
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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