The rapid transformation of the livestock sector in recent decades brought concerns on its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, disruptions to nitrogen and phosphorous cycles and on land use change, particularly deforestation for production of feed crops. Animal and human health are increasingly interlinked through emerging infectious diseases, zoonoses, and antimicrobial resistance. In many developing countries, the rapidity of change has also had social impacts with increased risk of marginalisation of smallholder farmers.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus that emerged in southern China in the mid-1990s has in recent years evolved into the first HPAI panzootic.