This special issue of the European Journal of Archaeology discusses aspects of animal husbandry in a number of provinces of the Western Roman Empire. In this introduction, we describe the general characteristics of animal husbandry in pre-Roman and Roman times to assess any changes that may have occurred after the Roman conquest. The results suggest that the territoriality typifying the first millennium bc had a significant impact on production, resulting in a decrease in cattle size and frequencies across Europe. Nevertheless, not all the regions reacted in the same way, and regional communities that focused their animal production on pigs implemented more sustainable husbandry practices over time. By bringing together studies carried out across Europe, this journal issue highlights the existence of cases of both change and continuity across the Empire, and the (uneven) impact of the market economy on animal husbandry and dietary practices in climatically different regions.