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The Economic and Social Contributions of the Animal Health Industry

February 2018  |  Nam D. Pham, Ph.D. and Mary Donovan

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Animal health products are indispensable to the American economy and communities. Economically, the impact of the animal health industry goes beyond manufacturing. Related industries such as veterinary services, animal production, food production, and pet services all rely on animals that stay healthy because of animal health products. Although the $11.4 billion animal health industry is relatively small, it generates a total, cumulative impact of $560 billion in benefits to the economy. This output creates nearly 1.4 million jobs and $53.2 billion in wages to support nearly 10 billion companion and food-producing animals across the country.

The social benefits of animal health products are far reaching. Importantly, animal health products improve public health and food safety. Vaccines prevent and cure diseases in food-producing animals, improving the quality and quantity of meat and dairy products. Vaccines have also helped to protect animals and humans from fatal diseases carried by wild animals such as rabies. Animal health products allow Americans to safely interact with companion animals and raise pets to become part of their family. As a result, they can reap the many mental and physical health benefits associated with pet ownership and service animals. While this impact cannot fully be quantified, it is clear that improvements in human health and quality of life due to interactions with animals are invaluable.