Why does research and innovation on animals and health matter?

Animal production is under constant pressure due to new and reemerging pathogens resulting from globalisation, trade development and climate change. Animal production here refers to livestock and other animals that live predominantly on land rather than aquatic animals. 

Transmissible animal diseases can have devastating impacts on agricultural sustainability. They entail production losses of up to 20% according to the world organisation for animal health (OIE), generate trade disruptions and affect the whole economy. This was experienced with epidemic diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, African swine fever or endemic diseases (e.g. bovine tuberculosis).

These pathogens can have a serious impact on human health and food safety. Zoonoses – diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans and antimicrobial resistance (estimated to be responsible for 33,000 deaths per year in the EU) makes One Health an important approach.

Diseases are detrimental to animal welfare and their control is key to improving overall production efficiency. Honeybee health, for example, is critical not only for apiculture but also for ecosystem services like pollination.

European agriculture needs sufficient means to fight diseases and develop practices that would prevent their occurrence in the first place. It requires integrated approaches and the development of tools for prevention, monitoring and control, along with risk management strategies. This includes ensuring prudent use of anti-microbials and seeking alternatives to anti-microbials.

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon 2020

    Calls for proposals related to animals and health are spread across numerous schemes in Horizon 2020. This page lists them and explains how you can apply.

  • European agricultural fund for rural development

    The rural development policy supports innovation through a range of interventions, including the European innovation partnership for agriculture (EIP-AGRI).

  • LIFE programme

    Some animals and health related calls may be found in this programme.

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

Scientific publications, tools and databases

  • Scientific publications 

    Scientific publications produced by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).

  • Scientific research tools and databases 

    The Commission's Joint Research Centre compiles databases and develops software and modelling tools.

  • EU Open Data Portal 

    Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions. All data is free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

  • OpenAIRE

    You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE.