Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Animal issues

Since the agricultural revolution which began around 12,500 years ago, humans have domesticated animals to serve their needs, and hunted others from the wild. For the food system animals have been essential as a source of food, labour, and organic fertilizer while ownership of animals may also have cultural, economic or symbolic import. Industrial farming techniques have allowed for large scale production of animal products, which has raised new ethical concerns about their welfare and more fundamentally about the morality of using animals for human purposes. The resource-intense nature of livestock production has attracted attention from researchers, civil society and policymakers alike. Finally, zoonotic diseases, those which can be spread between animals and humans, are a common source of human infection.

16 July 2013

This research was commissioned by Labelling Matters, a joint project of Compassion in World FarmingRSPCASoil Association and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), formed to undertake comprehensive research regarding animal welfare-related food labelling in Europe.

10 June 2013

This campaign has been launched to re-introduce the feeding of waste to pigs. It hopes to encourage farmers about the benefits of feeding pigs surplus food and calls for a change in European law so farmers can return to feeding pigs waste in the long term.

22 April 2013

The latest United States Department of Agriculture report on global trade in livestock and poultry has been published. The report provides a snapshot of the current situation among the major players in world beef, pork, broiler meat, and turkey meat trade. 

18 March 2013

Allan Savory of the Savory Institute has given a TED talk that outlines his ‘Holistic Management’ approach.

In brief, holistic management is based on the idea that large herds of livestock, far from causing desertification, can reverse it, by stimulating plant growth and water retention while also enhancing soil carbon sequestration (so reducing GHG emissions). 

25 February 2013

There seems to be a strong focus on livestock at the moment.  Greenpeace International has also entered the field now, with a new report, Ecological Livestock. Focusing on Europe, the report explores livestock production and consumption can be reduced to fit within ecological limits, such as biodiversity, climate change and water use.

6 February 2013

A report funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) identifies the ‘hotspots’ where zoonoses impose significant burdens, but also where zoonoses management is targeted at poor livestock keepers and consumers. The report maps emerging zoonoses as distinct from other emerging disease events, provides maps of regional agroecosystems, and summarises numbers of livestock, people and poor livestock keepers by system as well as by zoonoses context.

29 January 2013

The European Commission has released a report entitled: Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU from 2012-2022.  The report predicts that total meat production in the EU is expected to decline by 2% over the next two years, due in part to the ban on sow stalls. After the oncoming 2% decline, it may take up to 10 years for the EU meat sector to reach its 2011 production level of 45 million tones. The report also predicted that the EU would see its share of global meat exports decline over the next decade.

11 December 2012

A new book by John Webster, Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol, seeks to identify and explain the causes and contributors to current problems in animal husbandry, especially those related to 'factory farming', and advance arguments that may contribute to its successful re-orientation. 

24 September 2012

This report by the FAO examines the important issue of the relationship between biofuel production and livestock: there can be synergies (ie. the use of biofuel co-products as animal feed) and trade offs (such as biofuel production effects on the price of grains). 

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17 July 2012

A new FAO-led partnership is looking to improve how the environmental impacts of the livestock industry are measured and assessed. FAO and governmental, private-sector, and nongovernmental partners will work together on a number of fronts to strengthen the science of environmental benchmarking of livestock supply chains.

31 May 2012

A report published by the National Trust entitled What’s your beef? Compares the cradle-to-farm-gate emissions of ten tenanted National Trust farms, selected as representing a cross section of different beef production systems, including 4 organic, 4 conventional but extensive, and 2 semi intensive farms.

9 May 2012

This report, published by DEFRA, summarises the work that is underway by different livestock sectors to deliver greater sustainability; provides an overview of industry and government progress and activity of relevance to livestock stakeholders; and highlights the Government’s investment in promoting sustainable agriculture abroad. 

25 April 2012

Eight major organizations working in livestock development have issued a joint communiqué today, committing themselves to “working in closer alliance to develop and fulfill on a global agenda for the livestock sector that is safer, fairer and more sustainable.”

25 March 2012

The International Livestock Research Institute and the World Bank hosted a meeting on livestock in Nairobi on the 12-13 March.  Some of the presentations may be of interest, in particular:

10 January 2012

This is an interesting article about a farmer’s attempt to improve the sustainability of the farm by basing production on a dual purpose dairy/beef breed, based on grass-feeding, high welfare and zero waste.

18 November 2011

The November edition of the Livestock Exchange brief by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) explored ‘Livestock and Climate Change’.  Philip Thornton, Mario Herrero and Polly Ericksen prepared an issue brief on the relations between climate change and livestock systems in developing countries.

18 July 2011

In June 2011 the FCRN held a workshop, in partnership with SAIN UK-China, to explore issues relating to livestock consumption in the UK and Chinese contexts.

17 January 2011

This briefing paper explores some of the arguments surrounding the relationship between what we feed and how we rear farm animals, and the availability and accessibility of food for human consumption. 

17 January 2011

The purpose of this briefing paper is to explore the different ways in which one might view the contributions that livestock in intensive and extensive systems make to greenhouse gas emissions. 

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