Fewer camels at Pushkar Fair

There were 60,000 camels at Pushkar Fair this year, according the BBC’s Susie Emmett. But their numbers are falling. BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent programme of 23 December 2004 included a segment on problems facing Raika camel breeders in Rajasthan. Many female camels are now sold for meat – breaking a longstanding taboo among the Raika. They are forced to sell the camels because the animals have nowhere to graze, says LPPS Director Hanwant Singh Rathore.

Saving Rajasthan’s camel herds: The perspective of camel breeders

Compiled by Arun Srivastava, Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Hanwant Singh Rathore, and Uttra Kothari. Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan

Over 50 camel breeders met in Sadri, Rajasthan in November 2004 to discuss the declining numbers of camels in Rajasthan. They recommended ways to increase access to grazing, improve veterinary services, and promote the marketing of camel milk and other products.

Download 650 kb, 370 kb, 27 pages

Karen Commitment to Pastoralist/Indigenous Livestock Keepers’ Rights

Leaders of traditional livestock and pastoral communities, government representatives, civil society organizations, academics and livestock researchers met in Karen, Kenya on 27 to 30 October 2003. They issued the Karen Commitment, calling on governments to recognize the contribution of pastoralists to food security, the environment and biodiversity, and demanding that their rights to livestock genetic resources be formally recognized.

Click here for the full text of the Karen Commitment and the conference proceedings.

Livestock keepers’ rights

Over the centuries, small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists developed many of the world’s livestock breeds. These breeds are vital stores of animal biodiversity: genes that provide resistance to pests and disease, tolerance to drought and other adverse conditions, the ability to survive in harsh environments, and other valuable traits. By maintaining their herds, small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists are guardians of this biodiversity.

But their way of life is under threat from broad-scale changes in the economy, advances in technology, and the privatization of the world’s genetic heritage. As a result, many unique breeds are threatened with extinction. If we are to maintain this gene pool, it is vital to ensure that livestock keepers can continue to raise their animals and develop breeds that are adapted to a changing environment.

The League for Pastoral Peoples’ booklet, Livestock keepers’ rights: Conserving breeds, supporting livelihoods, outlines the case for supporting the rights of livestock keepers in order to conserve animal genetic diversity.

Download 262 kb, 20 pages.

Contact info@pastoralpeoples.org for a free hardcopy.

LPP at Nairobi biodiversity conference

Pastoralists’ rights to animal genetic resources were the focus of a paper presented at the Third International Conference on Biodiversity and Organic Agriculture in Nairobi in September 2004.

The paper was written jointly by Intermediate Technology Development Group veterinarian Jacob Wanyama and the League for Pastoral Peoples. Dr Wanyama presented the paper during a workshop on 25 September 2004 on biodiversity and animal husbandry. The workshop organizer was LPP member Anita Idel, Anita.Idel@t-online.de, of the organization Project Management Animal Health & Agrobiodiversity.

The conference, held on 24-26 September, focused on the role of organic agriculture in protecting biodiversity. It was organized by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). For details of the programme see www.ifoam.org