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.
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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.
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.
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