Sustainable livestock systems to improve human health, nutrition, and economic status

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Journal: Animal Frontiers

Publication Date: 9/2019

Summary: Sustainable livestock systems contribute to food security, economic and environmental stewardship, and sociocultural needs and are vital for achieving most of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Livestock production contributes to sustainability through use of uncultivable land for food production, conversion of energy and protein sources that cannot be used by humans into highly nutritious animal-sourced food and reduction of environmental pollution with agroindustrial by-products, while generating income and supporting livelihoods of millions of people all over the world. Some livestock systems are particularly effective at carbon sequestration and hence reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Livestock production offers the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and animal scientists have devised several effective strategies that can reduce such emissions from livestock systems by up to 30%. Most of the current discourse on sustainability focuses on one albeit important factor—the environment. Equally important factors are the need to ensure food and nutritional security for the growing global population in a culturally acceptable manner that ensures its accessibility, affordability, and safety. While livestock systems generally contribute to sustainability, poorly managed livestock systems may have adverse effects on the environment and human and animal health and welfare.

Key Takeaways

Livestock production done properly can be a sustainable way to provide high quality nutrition to the population while simultaneously reducing pollution. Poorly managed livestock systems can have negative effects on the environment and human health, so it is important that we develop sustainable systems.

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