A4NH / Animal Products / Directorate / Food Security / FSZ / ILRI / Livestock

The sharp divide: Do we need animals to feed this world?


image: CCAFS

On 13 October, the International Livestock Research Institute and Cornell University hosted a ‘workshop cafe’ at the
2nd International Conference on Global Food Security taking place in Ithaca, New York.

Livestock, the fastest-growing, highest-value and a highly controversial agriculture sector, is at a crossroads. Following a new set of 17 sustainable development goals, the current and potential roles of livestock systems in food and nutrition security and other aspects of sustainable development, including the environment, human health and livelihoods, continue to be debated.

Opinions are sharply divided in the industrialized world between those who consider animals to be more part of the solution and those who consider them to be more part of the problem.

Using the format of lively and critical debate – in plenary and in groups -, workshop participants identified challenges and formulate actionable responses to advance the roles livestock play in sustainable global food security.

Taking place from 1600-1730, the cafe featured three challenging contributions arguing for and against animal-source foods as contributing to food security – by Delia Grace (ILRI), Christopher Delgado (World Resources Institute) and Tara Garnett (Food Climate Research Network). After group deliberations, Andrew Mude (ILRI)  reflected on the various positions ‘from the field.’

See materials from the session:

2 thoughts on “The sharp divide: Do we need animals to feed this world?

  1. Do we need animals to feed this world ? What a question! I would not at all be comfortable to discuss the livestock issue under such a heading !!
    I would prefer to tackle the issue along three distincts lines:
    1) What is the essential and undeniable role of livestock in feeding this world ?
    2) What are the resources and the natural and social environment for feeding and raising livestock
    3) What is the contribution of livestock to rural livelyhoods.

    Uwe Werblow

  2. Yes, we need animals to feed this world and to contribute to global food security. Animals are one of the cheapest sources of proteins(poultry, eggs, milk) and complete proteins as such. Even the bible says in deutronomy 14, eat all animals except those without hoofs, those with webbed legs and fishes without scales. This goes a long way to put emphasis on the role of animals in nutrition and food security. In very poor communities even a rodden egg given to a baby makes the difference in rural areas. There is no debate that animals contribute to climate change but this is minimal and can even be reduced to the bearest minimum by modifying ruminant rations and using more concentrated feeds and digestion-aids. S.Y. APIIGA-ANIMAL SCIENTIST- GHANA.

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