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Livestock and the environment: addressing the consequences of livestock sector growth

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 February 2012

C. Opio*
Affiliation:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 000153 Rome, Italy
P. Gerber
Affiliation:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 000153 Rome, Italy
H. Steinfeld
Affiliation:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 000153 Rome, Italy
*
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Abstract

The livestock sector has a key and growing role in the agricultural economy. It is a major provider of livelihood support for a large part of the world's poor. It is also an important determinant of human health and diet. Over the last three decades, the global livestock sector has rapidly evolved in response to human population growth, income growth and urbanization. And until recently, much of the focus of the sector has been geared towards satiating this demand. However, the rapid growth in demand for animal protein, has resulted in complex interactions among bio-physical resources, economic and social objectives with implications for the natural resource-base and the environment. Livestock production has a large impact on the world's natural resources and contributes significantly to environmental problems such as ecosystem pollution and degradation, global warming and climate change by emission of greenhouse gases and biodiversity loss. This paper provides an overview of the growth within the livestock sector, explores the inter-linkages between the rapidly increasing demand for animal protein and environmental consequences, as well as advances possible technical and policy interventions that are appropriate for the enhancement of the sector's role in food security, poverty reduction, economic development while contributing to environmental sustainability.

Type
Full Paper
Copyright
Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2012

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