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APHA Hosts Celebration of a Century’s Work

APHA hosts celebration of a century’s work to improve animal health and welfare



APHA Hosts Celebration of a Century’s Work
APHA Hosts Celebration of a Century’s Work

The Animal and Plant Health Agency and World Organisation for Animal Health came together today (29 April) to celebrate 100 years of international efforts to improve animal health and welfare.


The event at APHA’s headquarters in Weybridge showcased some of the highlights from the long-standing international collaboration between the two organisations on issues such as rabies, brucellosis and antimicrobial resistance. 


APHA has played a leading role in improving international standards by supporting WOAH’s global animal health and welfare agenda, and enhancing WOAH’s network of international reference laboratories, which provide crucial scientific and technical advice on diseases. 


As a designated reference laboratory for 18 animal health specialisms, APHA teams have worked alongside WOAH on a range of animal diseases, including work towards a goal to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.


They helped set up a reference laboratory in India to build rabies diagnosis capability across the country and establish a nationwide training programme. Around 60% of global human deaths from rabies occur in Asia, with India accounting for an estimated 60% of these deaths. 


APHA has also been involved in capability building for brucellosis, a bacterial disease that has been eradicated in much of northern Europe but remains a threat in most of the world. As part of twinning programmes in Turkey, Sudan, and Afghanistan, APHA scientists worked with a newly constructed Central Veterinary Laboratory in Kabul to develop diagnostic skills increasing capacity for disease surveillance programmes and helping the country to better understand the disease situation.


APHA Chief Executive David Holdsworth said:

This important event has shone a light on the outstanding work by leading APHA experts on the global stage to raise animal health and welfare standards. The threat from zoonotic diseases is rising, and our teams work tirelessly in responding to these. We are proud to be a partner of WOAH, the global authority on animal health, helping them in their mission to improve animal health globally, thereby ensuring a better future for all.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: 

Animal diseases can pose a threat to human health, food security and economic growth. To address these threats effectively, the global community needs to work in a coordinated way, across sectors, disciplines, and borders using a ‘One Health’ approach. We have seen some fine examples today of this work in action and I am grateful to APHA for their continued vital work in this space.

APHA’s scientific facility at Weybridge is the UK’s primary capability for managing the threats posed by the spread of diseases carried by animals, many of which pose a significant threat to public health, the economy, and the environment. The threat from zoonotic diseases is increasing, with nearly two-thirds of infectious diseases in humans originating in animals. 


Ongoing UK Government advocacy for a ‘One Health’ approach and long-term investment in the Science Capability for Animal Health (SCAH) Programme will improve our ability to prevent, predict, detect, and respond to health threats, improving the health of humans, animals and plants, and the environment whilst contributing to global sustainable development.

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