Livestock goods and bads … have our views changed?

Livestock, the good the bad and the ugly” was the theme for the annual staff meeting of the International Livestock Research Institute in April of this year.

As an organization we have tended to focus on the positive aspects of livestock production in developing countries and this bias is evident in our strap-line: Better Lives through Livestock. At the same time the global media regularly present a very different view of livestock as “polluters of the planet”.

We felt it time to address this issue head on and consider both the negative and positive elements of livestock production and how these differ in the developed north and the developing south.

In the run-up to our meeting we conducted a quick survey to get participants thinking about the issues. At the meeting itself we engaged in an extended dialogue on livestock goods and bads using a range of formats. We repeated the survey after the meeting.

Survey results were reasonably consistent before and after the meeting although some of the opinions did change. For example the perception that in global terms livestock are a pathway out of poverty was significantly eroded following the meeting. There was also a tendency for increased awareness of zoonotic disease as a livestock bad. We also saw a reduction in those responding “don’t know” suggesting that our deliberations did increase understanding on livestock goods and bads.

Although the results were interesting, the survey was also a useful process for getting people thinking about livestock goods and bads and the high response rate (almost half of participants completed the first survey round) suggest that it was a useful exercise. See a summary of the survey results.




This post is part of a series associated with the ILRI Annual Program Meeting in Addis Ababa, April 2010. More postings …

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