Animal diseases devastate the lives of individuals, families and communities around the world. For this reason, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development have entrusted 28 million USD to GALVmed over the next three years to make livestock vaccines, diagnostics and medicines accessible, affordable and available to the poorest people.
Statistics are infamous for their tendency to be, at best, dubious. Some seem just incredible. So staggering is a stat that has recently come to my attention that I preface it with the caveat that there must be more to this figure than meets the eye; surely. The World Bank tells us that, in spite of increases in aid from the affluent world to Developing Countries, only 4 per cent of International Development Aid goes to Agriculture. I don’t doubt this figure, but when nearly 700 million of the 1 billion people who live on less than $1 a day rely on their livestock as a lifeline, it strikes me as remarkable. However, that only 0.04% or just under 34 million USD of the total international aid (83673.47 million USD) that went direct to the Livestock Sector in 2007, causes me to question my maths and early training as an Economist. I only hope that posting under “Food Security” or some other budgetary title is going some way to mitigate this stark statistic that challenges notions of sustainability.
The sheer scale of unthinkable global poverty can become just that, unbelievable, unimaginable and abstract. However, the positive glimpses into the lives of individuals and accounts of dignity and community advancement in adversity offered in our Voices from the Field section demonstrate the crucial importance of livestock and how poverty and the pathways out of it are entirely real and personal.
Steve Sloan, CEO, GALVmed