Epidemic disease outbreaks of zoonotic origin such as Avian Influenza, SARS or BSE are increasingly common lately. The thesis aims at exploring the underlying reasons for risks occurrence in the public health sector due to the increase in animal production. It adopts an economic perspective and compares human health systems and animal health systems. A comparative literature review is undertaken of animal health and its human health counterpart. It explores the underlying economic reasons for the weakening of public health and animal health systems. The role of the structural adjustment programmes, followed by market-based economic principles (especially privatisation of public services) is analysed. The market failures existing in this field are examined along with associated policy implications. Characteristic of the thesis is the underlying comparison of human and animal health systems from the funding mechanism to service delivery. In the latter case, community-based systems in both the human and animal fields are chosen as a comparative case-study.