This text book was conceived in January 2002, in Tanzania, during a DFID Livestock Production Programme (LPP) workshop. Perceived justifications for such a book were: (1) to improve the preparation of animal science students to address livestock issues faced by resource-poor subsistence farmers in developing countries; the majority of livestock text-books are either a) authored in the ‘north’ and based on temperate, large-scale, commercial systems or b) based on a single species and technology ‘fix’ approach, with insufficient focus on the systems under which livestock are kept by the resource-poor, or on improving livestock survival and productivity and understanding the contribution they make to livelihoods; (2) to address the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in absolute poverty by 2015 through `training teachers’ using appropriate information. Three quarters of poor people live in rural areas and keep livestock; (3) to respond to the large demand for meat and milk over the next 20 years foreseen by the burgeoning ‘Livestock Revolution’ and the consequent opportunities for resource-poor livestock keepers to move from subsistence to a market-oriented economy. The LPP agreed to commission the book provided that consultation with stakeholders confirmed a demand for it and that a broad electorate of stakeholders participated in the book’s design and production. Two editors (E. Owen and T Smith) were appointed to undertake the consultations and subsequent production of the book in collaboration with the Manager of LPP (J.I. Richards).