Can the world feed 9.8 billion people by 2050 without destroying the planet?

food security

This article is sponsored content brought to you by the Australian Veterinary Association.

The whole day theme program on Food Security, Biodiversity and Welfare is an exciting new initiative at the 2019 AVA Annual Conference relevant to all veterinary professionals whether involved in animal production, animal welfare, conservation biology or just want to think of the future. Since the early 1960s, the world has been accelerating through a time of unprecedented growth driven by human activity, not seen in human history and has brought changes to global climate, food production, deforestation and urbanisation.

The Food Security Day on 9 May will bring together experts in the complementary fields to provide information on how we tackle these challenges.  

It is estimated that food production will need to significantly increase to address human population numbers and changing consumption patterns. Up until now, the increase in food production has been done by clearing native vegetation to make way for increased food production, regardless of the consequences.

It is widely agreed internationally that this approach is no longer acceptable and has led to the development of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. For food production to be achieved sustainability, sufficient areas of biodiverse and functional ecosystems are crucial to human survival. This can only be achieved by prior thinking, integration and mitigating outcomes. Veterinarians, whether we realise it or not, are critically involved from biosecurity, food production to conservation and threatened species management.

In Australia, veterinarians care for around 500,000 wildlife cases annually and most of those animals are injured and displaced as a consequence of agricultural or urban expansion. Taking one step back and looking at these issues is essential if the damage is to be ameliorated. The parallel with the management of antimicrobial resistance is clear, which can only be addressed by taking a wider view and working with a OneHealth or EcoHealth approach.

What’s in the Food Security Day program?

  • Robyn Alders– Food security internationally and Australia’s role.
  • Adrian Ward – Conserving Australia’s biodiversity, while doubling food production.
  • Donald Broom– Some animal production methods are unsustainable: factors include poor welfare.
  • Delia Grace– No food security without food safety: lessons from low- and middle-income countries.
  • John Kanowski– Wildlife conservation programs in pastoral landscapes in Northern Australia.
  • Mark Schipp – Food security: Australia and the global context.V

To register for the AVA Annual Conference and see what’s on at the Food Security Day, visit

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