Invisible Livestock: Highlighting the contribution of non-food producing livestock to livelihoods and national economies
Almost without exception, policy debates about livestock and human development focus on animals that produce food outputs such as milk, meat and eggs. This is based on the mistaken assumption that only livestock that produces food brings direct benefits for people’s food security and livelihoods.
Working horses, donkeys and mules make up approximately 113 million of the livestock population in less developed countries (FAOSTAT). They support people’s livelihoods in a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, construction, mining and public transport. It is estimated that working equine animals help approximately 600 million people globally, very often in poor and marginalised communities. Other working animal species, such as camels, buffalo, oxen and llamas, bring their own important contribution to livelihoods and national economies, making the number of people globally who depend on animal power even greater. Finally, animals that produce non-food outputs such as fibre and hides also play a crucial role in household and national economies all over the world.
The Brooke will highlight the contributions of non-food production livestock by convening a one-day high-level policy conference in London on the 16th of November 2016. The event will be titled ‘Invisible Livestock: Highlighting the contribution of non-food producing livestock to livelihoods and national economies’ and bring together international institutions such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, OIE, AU-IBAR, FAO , IFAD and World Bank, national development agencies and livestock ministries, donors, researchers and civil society organisations.
The conference will provide a rare opportunity to put non-food producing livestock such as working horses, donkeys and mules on the international livestock policy agenda. It will also allow participants to showcase available evidence, including the Brooke’s new Livelihoods report, to an audience of highly informed livestock experts, funders and decision makers, with a mandate and the capacity to take action to improve animal welfare.