The Animal Turn

S5E9: One Health with Nina Jamal

January 25, 2023 Claudia Hirtenfelder Season 5 Episode 9
The Animal Turn
S5E9: One Health with Nina Jamal
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode Claudia speaks to Nina Jamal about One Health. They discuss the changing definition of One Health and its significance for biosecurity and animals. They spend time thinking through the challenges and opportunities, particularly at the level of national and international policy. 


Date Recorded: 1 December 2022


Nina Jamal is leading FOUR PAWS’ efforts on Pandemics & Animal Welfare and campaign strategies. Before taking on that role and since 2013, Nina led the International Campaigns on Farm Animals and Nutrition Campaigns. Nina has also worked in the climate movement on international policy and campaigns as well as in the private sector and UNIDO. Her background is in Environmental Health Sciences, Public Health and International Environmental Policy. Connect with Nina (@ninajamal10) and Four Paws (@fourpawsint) on Twitter. Also check out the Four Paws website (


Claudia (Towne) Hirtenfelder is the founder and host of The Animal Turn. She is a PhD Candidate in Geography and Planning at Queen’s University and is currently undertaking her own research project looking at the geographical and historical relationships between animals (specifically cows) and cities. She was awarded the AASA Award for Popular Communication for her work on the podcast. Contact Claudia via email ( or follow her on Twitter (@ClaudiaFTowne).




The Animal Turn is part of the  iROAR, an Animals Podcasting Network and can also be found on A.P.P.L.E, Twitter, and Instagram


Thank you to Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics (A.P.P.L.E) for sponsoring this podcast; the Biosecurities and Urban Governance Research Collective for sponsoring this season; Gordon Clarke (Instagram: @_con_sol_) for the bed music; Jeremy John for the logo; Amanda Bunten-Walberg for the Animal Highlight, and Christiaan Menz for his editing. 

Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics (A.P.P.L.E)

Biosecurities Research Collective
The Biosecurities and Urban Governance Research brings together scholars interested in biosecurity.

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The Animal Turn is hosted and produced by Claudia Hirtenfelder and is part of iROAR Network. Find out more on our website.

00:00 - Introduction 


03:23 – Welcome 

  • One Health has come up in almost every episode so important to focus on what it is. 
  • Nina works at Four Paws International with a background in Environmental Sciences and Public Health 
  • Nina works on and tries to prevent pandemics. 
  • Four Paws works on animal welfare and suffering, tackling illegal wildlife trade, wildlife markets, fur farming, etc  - all of these are triggers for spillover 
  • Important to engage in international health debate 


07:00 – General Idea of One Health 

  • “The main premise that the health and welfare of animals, humans, and the environment are interlinked. We cannot view any of them in isolation. However, One Health is an evolving concept,” Nina
  • 1984 – One Medicine approach. 
  • Have to talk about the environment so it was added in 2004, a time when several zoonotic outbreaks were happening 
  • Different practitioners have different focal points
  • In 2021, there was a new definition by the One Health High Level Expert Panel made up of 26 experts, selected by international organisations. Their definition: 
  • “One health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. And it recognises that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment including ecosystems are closely interlinked and interdependent.”
  • This new definition is a watershed moment. 
  • Ecocentric view can sometimes neglect animals
  • World Health Organisation developing a pandemic treaty and a key phrase in the negotiations were One Health but no one was really talking about what it means
  • It is about what it means, who is defining what it means, and what it should mean
  • Historically it was about surveillance but what it should mean, it is also about how human activities have impacts. We need to change the way we treat animals and environments
  • INB is using the high level definition but if you look at the operational elements organisations are going back to surveillance 


14:50 – Driving pathogens 

  • What are the big things we are talking about when we are talking about prevention. 
  • Deforestation and habitat loss are a massive problem, we are using land to feed farm animals. 70% of agricultural land is being used to keep and feed agricultural animals. This is inefficient and risky 
  • Animals in stressful environments makes them more receptive to illness, such as factory and fur farming 
  • Places in which there are poor sanitary conditions and mixing of species who are not normally in contact 
  • Culling of animals in fur farms because of pathogen spreads 
  • Humans are in contact with nature and animals, the risk emerges when patterns change 
  • Sometimes animal are asymptomatic and sometimes they are sick. In both cases there are risks of spillover to humans 


22:00 – One Welfare 

  • In 2020, Four Paws published a report in which they interviewed experts about pandemic prevention.
  • Four Paws concerned about One Health because it was too anthropocentric, which is why they preferred the One Welfare approach. It is not only about the absence of disease, but it is also about welfare. 
  • For example, Broiler chickens grown as quickly as possible which makes them sick and they get antibiotics. Focused on performance instead of care. One Welfare would have small holder farmers that work with local farmers are diverse broilers in an outdoor system that fits their needs 
  • “Through a One Welfare Approach everyone benefits” 
  • “To what extent is a welfare policy just sustaining what are often quite abusive models for how animals are kept?” Claudia 
  • We have to phase out factory farming and move toward plant based diets – this will mean more sustainable food systems. This will ensure food security 


28:20 – Antimicrobial Resistance 

  • Over 80% of antibiotics in the world are going to animals and AMR is killing large amounts of animals 
  • We are inappropriately using antibiotics on animals, broiler chickens get antibiotics for intestine and bone issues. 
  • We ae enabling superbugs 
  • “We have this idea that technology is going to save us,” Claudia
  • National Action plans do not include measures to improve the keeping conditions of animals, these root causes are not part of the plan
  • “We cannot keep consuming the same amount of animals and solve the antimicrobial resistance problem,” Nina 
  • Thomas Hartung noted how it is not economically feasible to rely on new drugs 


34:20 – Privileging of economics

  • “Even here when we are speaking about human health, and animal health, are we still just putting economics at the forefront?” Claudia
  • There are conversations about a paradigm shift – The Council on the Economic of Health for All. We need to view health as an investment not a cost. 
  • “We cannot continue focusing on GDP as the one indicator of success of a government or a system, we need to develop other indicators,” Nina
  • The Economics of Wellbeing is getting more traction – evaluate the success of sectors not on growth but on how they enable wellbeing


37:30 – Global policies and breaking silos 

  • We have to talk about global inequalities will lead to wealthy countries just exporting their problems.
  • U.S. and Europe are importing soy from forests logged in the global south, we destroy nature beyond our borders
  • The new One Health framing and the pandemic instrument give hope because it is rooted in collaboration
  • We can longer treat health is a silo 
  • Ministry of Health and Ministry o Agriculture have to talk to each other
  • Whole of Society Approach – will this intention make its way into international strategies? 
  • Decoupling of economics and extending beyond it
  • Vets should be advocating on behalf of animal health, not industry interests 
  • “Big health impacts, are big economic impacts,” Claudia 


43:13 – Moving forward 

  • “We are living in a crisis and this crisis and this crisis builds a very strong case for bold action,” Nina
  • Move away from factory farming, illegal wildlife trade, deforestation, biodiversity loss. 
  • Measures need to be sustainable. 
  • Investments in positive practices at the national and international levels 
  • Change in priorities, move towards an economy of wellbeing 
  • People linked to high risk practices and vulnerable communities – which means if we expect a society to move away from risky practices we have to develop alternative sources of livelihoods. 
  • People and animals at the interface are part of the solution
  • “We cannot afford to wait for another pandemic,” Nina
  • We cannot do the minimum anymore, we need a holistic approach
  • Need to pay attention to specific interfaces 
  • One Health can also happen in your own life and choose to be part of a new future 
  • Becoming trending for companies to be ethical, seeing a rise in companies choosing plant based alternatives 
  • Investors wanting to invest in lower risk systems
  • Hopefully COVID-19 triggers bolder action 


51:14 – Quote 

  • “For animal welfare movement and animal experts from various disciplines, it has been clear for decades that we cannot view human health in isolation. Our health and wellbeing can be adversely affected by how we are treating animals and the environment. We cannot safeguard human health without safeguarding animal welfare and protecting the environment. It is time to tackle the root causes of outbreaks and focus on prevention at source rather than cure. It is also time that we expand the way that we define health and improve health policy in line with the One Health approach because when animals and the environment suffer we suffer as well.” - Four Paws 


52:30 – What are you working on?

  • Influencing the international negotiations on the National Treaty, concerned that it will only focus on the period after an outbreak there will be a missed opportunity 
  • Talking to governments and setting up expert roundtables
  • Working on AMR
  • Can learn more at
  • Four Paws headquarters in Vienna but located in many countries. 
  • Been helping people with pets in Ukraine and have a bear sanctuary in Ukraine 
  • Conflict is important to talking about health, cholera is re-emerging


56:17 – Animal Highlight (Pangolins) 

  • How One Health can flatten complexity
  • Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital critique of “The Global Village”
  • Most heavily trafficked animal globally 
  • Pangolins and East Asians are often treated as scapegoats for COVID-19
  • Pathologizing cultural differences 
  • COVID might have given pangolins a reprieve but there was also a reduction in conservation 
  • Closely related to animals like animals like cats and dogs 
  • Scales made from keratin that protect their bodies
  • Eight species in total that live throughout Africa and Asia 
  • Eat ants and termites, locate them with the strong sense of smell and curved paws 
  • “The animal that digs trough the mountain,” Pangolin in Cantonese 
  • Stevie in a video on the Dodo rescued from the illegal wildlife trade 
  • Zimbabwe and Pangolins photoshoot. 



General Idea of One Health
Driving pathogens
One Welfare
Antimicrobial Resistance
Privileging of Economics
Global Policies and Breaking Silos
Moving forward
What are you working on?
Animal Highlight - Pangolins and Stevie
Thank you and Credits

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