Human and animal welfare are linked, and changes in the modern environment threaten the health and welfare of domestic animals. Helsinki One Health will focus on global challenges in animal health and welfare. Genetically high-merit production animals are vulnerable to nutrition and metabolism-related problems owing to their high capacity for producing milk, muscle mass, and eggs. In companion animals, severe problems such as respiratory difficulties, neurological symptoms, and metabolic and behavioural problems have emerged, with secondary effects on human societies.
Finland has comprehensive digital data on animals and their health, welfare, productivity, and pedigrees.
Helsinki One Health research network will develop more sensitive methods for the detection of subtle signs of pain in animals in order to limit individual suffering and population-level losses.
As zoonotic diseases threaten human and animal health and as safe animal-derived food has its origins in healthy animals, Helsinki One Health research focuses on reducing infectious diseases, which will then decrease the use of antimicrobial drugs and, thus, slow down antimicrobial resistance.
Helsinki One Health will also study the manifold social influences of companion animals. Presence of dogs and cats in the home is known to support human health and welfare. Helsinki One Health research will identify social and physical welfare advantages of pets to their owners; it will also determine economical values for these benefits, including the social and economic impact of therapy horses.