Climate Policymakers Must Consider Small Livestock Farmers

The director general of the International Livestock Research Institute, Carlos Sere has urged policy makers not to impose policies on farmers in developing countries to curb livestock use and production.

The institute recognises that livestock production is responsible for an estimated 18% of global greenhouse gases (GHGs), whilst transport contributes 13% overall.

Policies aimed at globally reducing meat consumption might make the livelihoods of small scale farmers in developing countries even more difficult than they already are.

Sere recognised the plight of the half a billion people around the world that rely upon domestic livestock: “If you stop [livestock] production, it will make a lot of people become poor … it’s important to have policies to facilitate these people so they can live and adapt to more modern challenges.” Sere believes that policymakers need to recognise the impacts of the decisions that they make.

As with so many global policy issues the policy, in most cases, must be fine tuned to the local level. In the Sci Dev article, Carlos Sere failed to mention the proportional impact that the enormous meat production industry in the West has, particularly the US and Europe. Carlos is right that small-scale independent farmers should not be ‘forgotten’ when policy is proposed. However the link between consumer demand, and where the impact of that demand is felt must be of chief importance in policy development in this area.

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