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Product title :

Introduction – Can economics be better used in animal health?

Author(s) : J. Rushton

Summary :

It is almost 20 years since the OIE published an issue of the Scientific and Technical Review on the economics of animal disease control (1), and this update comes at a time of increasing demand for the use of economic knowledge and skills in the allocation of scarce resources for animal health. The context in which this Review is being published is one in which there has been long-running disquiet amongst economists about how economics has been used for animal health, with some claiming that much of what is labelled ‘economics’ is simply ‘accounting’, and others bemoaning the fact that animal health continues to be viewed primarily as a veterinary problem rather than an economic problem (2). Amongst animal health professionals there has been a tendency to use economics and economists to demonstrate the economic impact of their chosen diseases and to show the economic profitability of their strategies (3), which is not necessarily the best use of economics. Over the last 20 years, there has been the slow recognition that human behaviour, which is an integral aspect of disease introduction, spread and maintenance, needs to be understood in order to make both economic and epidemiological models more representative of reality.

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