Is prevention better than cure? An empirical investigation for the case of Avian Influenza
The new EU Animal Health Strategy suggests a shift in emphasis away from control towards prevention and surveillance activities for the management of threats to animal health. The optimal combination of these actions will differ among diseases and depend on largely unknown and uncertain costs and benefits. This paper reports an empirical investigation of this issue for the case of Avian Influenza. The results suggest that the optimal combination of actions will be dependent on the objective of the decision maker and that conflict exists between an optimal strategy which minimises costs to the government and one which maximises producer profits or minimises negative effects on human health. From the perspective of minimising the effects on human health, prevention appears preferable to cure but the case is less clear for other objectives.
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