Increased worldwide meat and poultry production has pushed farms closer to urban areas, increasing the risk of animal to human disease transmission, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
"The risk of disease transmission from animals to humans will increase in the future due to human and livestock population growth, dynamic changes in livestock production and a significant increase in the mobility of people and goods," FAO said in a policy brief titled "Industrial Livestock Production and Global Health Risks."
It warned the risk of pathogen transfer is increased by animal movement, the concentration of confined animals and the waste produced by larger animal operations.
With global pig and poultry production growing the fastest, the FAO cited a trend toward industrialized livestock production replacing traditional systems in developing countries, most notably in Asia, South America and Africa. It also raised concerns that both poultry and pig production rely on significant animal movement.
The FAO called on meat producers to apply basic biosecurity measures, refrain from building production sites too close to human settlements or wild bird populations, regularly clean and disinfect farms, control staff and vehicles movement and train employees in biosecurity.