Bonn Workshop on the Future of Animal Genetic Resources

A workshop on “The Future of Animal Genetic Resources: Under Corporate Control or in the Hands of Farmers and Pastoralists?” was held 16-18 October, 2006, in Bonn, Germany. While concentration in the livestock breeding industry is fast increasing, and exotic breeds are transferred to the South in large quantities, local smallholder livestock keepers are losing access to grazing lands. The recent large scale biofuel plantations may add to the pressures.

Seventy percent of the world’s poor keep livestock, while factory farm products are generally not within immediate reach of the poor. The loss of breeds is accelerating, and livelihoods are lost as well. Participants have emphasized the importance of livestock keepers’ rights to their breeds as well as to the productive resources (e.g. grazing land, water, animal health services, and credit) needed to keep these breeds that have the capacity to produce under the often harsh local environments. Local breed development should become a priority in poverty alleviation programmes.

The 45 participants from 20 countries came from livestock keeping communities, civil society organizations, FAO, the Swiss government, national focal points for animal genetic resources from South and North, the International Livestock Research Institute, universities, donors, and breed conservation organizations. The workshop, which was organized by LPP together with the LIFE Network.

The workshop was held in preparation of the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources that will be held in Interlaken, Switzerland, in September 2007.

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