New Study Quantifies Animal Health Industry’s Contributions

The animal health industry has a significant impact on the economy. ( iStock )

A comprehensive new study, “The Economic and Social Contributions of the Animal Health Industry,” documents the value provided by companies that produce animal medicines and the important role they play in the U.S. economy and beyond. The results are clear: in its work to improve the health of nearly 10 billion companion and food-producing animals, the animal health industry contributes significant economic and social benefits across America.

Fueled by $9.9 billion in sales of medicines, the U.S. animal health industry employs 21,257 workers, accounts for more than $1.2 billion in wages and $1.2 billion in taxes, and maintains a positive trade balance.

Furthermore, animal health products directly contribute to the economic activity of other industries including veterinary services, animal production, meat and dairy production, and pet services. Combined, these four industries generated $548 billion in output, created almost 1.4 million jobs, and paid over $52 billion in wages in 2016.

“With more than 67 percent of U.S. households owning pets, it’s undeniable that animals are fully integrated into our daily lives,” said Alexander Matthews, Animal Health Institute (AHI) president and CEO. “But it may be surprising to some that the business of keeping those animals healthy – which also helps keep humans healthy – is a meaningful economic driver in every state in the U.S.”

The study also explored the intersection between animal health and human health by examining and aggregating research about public heath, food safety, and animal companionship. Animal health products advance public and human health: vaccines and medicines improve food safety and availability by reducing disease outbreaks in food-producing animals and reducing instances of foodborne illnesses and pets can improve human mental and physical wellbeing.

“Animal health products touch the lives of all Americans,” said Matthews. “These medicines contribute to the health and welfare of companion animals and strengthen the bond between people and their pets. Animal medicines also help farmers, ranchers and veterinarians keep food animals healthy and contribute to a safe food supply for American families.

The report includes detailed data broken out by state that addresses:

  • Households with pets
  • Household expenditures on pet medicines and supplies
  • Food-producing animal inventory
  • Veterinary industry statistics
  • Animal production industry statistics
  • Meat and dairy processing industry statistics
  • Pet services industry statistics
  • Consumption of meat and dairy products

The study, commissioned by the Animal Health Institute, was produced by ndp Analytics, a strategic research firm that specializes in economic analysis of public policy and legal issues. For the entire report and additional resources, please go to