The United Nations predicts that by the year 2050, the world’s population will have grown to approximately 9.7billion. This growth, along with rising incomes in developing countries (which cause dietary changes such as eating more protein and meat) are driving up global food demand. As a consequence, it is expected that global food production will have to increase by between 59% and 98%. Other data produced by the United Nations predicts that per capita world meat and dairy consumption will rise from 39 and 83kg (2005/2007) to 49 and 99kg respectively in 2050. Given current concerns over climate change, a further factor to consider is the contribution made by livestock to greenhouse gas emissions. Assuring and improving animal health is therefore critical not simply from an animal welfare point of view but also in terms of improving productivity and reducing impact on the environment. Achieving this objective will require multidisciplinary approaches, some of which will be based on recent scientific advances. These address not only animal disease but also optimised nutrition, which in some cases will be assisted by the use of molecular biology techniques.