An international conference about the future of livestock keeping in its global and social context to be held in Bonn, Germany6-7th September, 2012
Conference video (in German)
Kurzdokumentation der Livestock Futures Konferenz über die Zukunft der Nutztierhaltung
von Anne Welsing
Photo story: Livestock Keeping: Building a future by Susie Emmett, Green Shoots Productions
Much of the meat, milk and other products we enjoy from animals are produced by small scale livestock keepers and pastoralists. But their livelihoods are under threat. How to help?
The League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP) brought together livestock keepers and international experts in Bonn, Germany for ‘Livestock Futures’. In this photo story they share their visions for the future and how to help small scale livestock keepers and pastoralists to thrive.
The Conference „Livestock Futures“ has highlighted the importance of integrating small scale livestock keepers in the dialogue about food security, biodiversity and environment conservation. Their contribution to these topics is invaluable and must be recognized.
The livestock sector is in a crisis. During the last half century, the numbers of farm animals has been growing much faster than the world’s human population.
While the numbers of people more than doubled during this time period, the number of farm animals grew 3.6 times, and the number of slaughtered animals even multiplied by the factor of 7.1. This trend is putting an unprecedented strain on the earth’s resources, with devastating effects on the environment, soil fertility, climate, and biodiversity. Public health – the massive use of antibiotics and growth promoters, as well as the rapid spread of diseases around the globe – is another major concern. And it seems that there is no end in sight to “Livestock’s long shadow”: The Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that the demand for livestock products will increase dramatically until 2050. The realization that we have a major predicament at hand, has triggered international organisations to initiate the Global Agenda of Action for a Sustainable Livestock Sector.At the same time, livestock also seems to be losing its traditional role as a “pathway out of poverty”. Evidence is mounting that the world’s 600 million poor livestock keepers are not benefitting from the so-called Livestock Revolution, the equivalent to the Green Revolution. The number of family farms has dwindled rapidly, at least in developed countries. For pastoralists no figures are available, but they are running out of space, due to land-grabbing, population pressure and other factors.So what is the appropriate response to this scenario? The mainstream organizations promote “sustainable intensification”– which is understood to mean ever larger holdings of higher producing animals. But what about all the small-scale livestock keepers? Is it a given that they will eventually drift towards urban areas and find alternative employment there? Or do livestock keepers have a role to play if we want to have a “sustainable livestock sector”? If yes, what kind of policy frameworks are necessary to ensure their livelihoods and survival? And what do we exactly mean by a “sustainable livestock sector”? Is this even achievable at national levels, given that the livestock economies of the world are all connected by trade with livestock products, genetic materials and inputs – subjected to cut-throat competition for ever cheaper products?In the context of reaching the Millennium goals, of complying with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and other legal frameworks, including even the United Nations Declaration on the Rights Indigenous People, it is urgent and existential to subject these questions to some out-of-the-box thinking.
The purpose of the Livestock Futures conference is to
- Take stock of the current scenario
and its impacts on people, animals, and the environment.
- Investigate the problem from a global and systematic perspective rather than “developed countries versus developing countries”.
- Analyse the driving policy factors that have created the current situation.
- Identify promising policies and practices for globally and socially sustainable livestock farming Highlight the need for concerted
action at the international level and provide inputs to the Global Agenda of Action for a Sustainable Livestock Sector
- Define the cornerstones of a global
framework for a resilient livestock sector
The conference is directed at national and international policy makers, livestock and development professionals, environmentalists, students and media.
Gustav-Stresemann-Institut e.V.Langer Grabenweg 68D-53175 Bonn – Bad Godesberg