Classical risk assessment approaches for animal diseases are influenced by the probability of release, exposure and consequences of a hazard affecting a livestock population. Once a pathogen enters into domestic livestock, potential risks of exposure and infection both to animals and people extend through a chain of economic activities related to producing, buying and selling of animals and products. Therefore, in order to understand economic drivers of animal diseases in different ecosystems and to come up with effective and efficient measures to manage disease risks from a country or region, the entire value chain and related markets for animal and product needs to be analysed to come out with practical and cost effective risk management options agreed by actors and players on those value chains.
Value chain analysis enriches disease risk assessment providing a framework for interdisciplinary collaboration, which seems to be in increasing demand for problems concerning infectious livestock diseases. The best way to achieve this is to ensure that veterinary epidemiologists and social scientists work together throughout the process at all levels.