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How can caring for livestock support people in need?

A side event on 18 October 2016 at the annual summit of the Committee on World Food Security, will discuss how livestock can best support food security and nutrition.

Brooke and Compassion in World Farming will be taking part in this global event - discussing how we can develop farming that is effective in feeding food-insecure people sustainably, and how working livestock can be properly cared for so that animals can help the most vulnerable people thrive.

Livestock, both those reared for food and working animals, support billions of people all over the world, especially poorer people and smallholders, to achieve food security. The event will address the issues, including the health and well-being of working animals, which aid food production, distribution and access, and management of farmland and intensive farming.

Around two thirds of farm animals worldwide are reared in intensive systems that are dependent on cereal and soya feeds for fast growth and high yields. For every 100 food calories of edible crops fed to livestock, we get back just 30 calories in the form of meat and dairy - a 70% loss. In short, people are being forced to compete with farm animals for food.

Philip Lymbery, Visiting Professor at the University of Winchester Centre for Animal Welfare and CEO of Compassion in World Farming, says: “We have staggering food inequality as some people go hungry while others consume far too much – and yet we are already producing enough food to feed the world. We don’t need to produce more food – we just need to produce it differently.

“Putting animals back on the land and replacing factory farming with extensive farming methods, is the first vital step on the path towards a more sustainable food system. It is crucial that we make this change – for the sake of our health, the environment, and for animals’ welfare.”

Food security policy often overlooks working livestock - animals like horses, donkeys and mules, that aren’t used directly for food, but are critical to livelihoods. These animals benefit people by enabling and facilitating food production. They are used for ploughing, sowing and tilling the fields where food is grown, and transporting the feed and water needed for food producing livestock. They also help owners earn an income used to purchase food for their families, as well as transporting food from market to the homestead.

Dil Peeling, Director of Animal Welfare and Sustainability for Brooke, says: “Working horses, donkeys and mules are the oil that keep so many livelihoods systems running – billions of people throughout the world depend on them to earn a living, but they remain largely overlooked. These ‘invisible workers’ provide a huge contribution to food security. They plow the land to produce food, they transport it to and from the markets, and they help people earn the money to buy it.

“It’s vital that working horses, donkeys and mules are included when we define ‘livestock’, and that people are able to access suitable veterinary services and the training they need to keep their animals healthy.”

Both Philip Lymbery and Dil Peeling will be speaking at: ‘The Role of Livestock in Sustainable Agriculture; Delivering for People, Animals and Planet.’ This side event takes place from 6-7:30pm at the Committee on World Food Security, chaired by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The event is organised by the government of Senegal, government of Kenya, working animal charity Brooke, and the University of Winchester, represented by Professor Phillip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming. Pre-registered delegates can attend on the day, but non CFS delegates should register through Eventbrite as soon as possible in order to get a building pass.

The Committee for World Food security aims to bring together all country representatives from 193 nations to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The annual plenary takes place to agree on recommendations and guidance on a wide range of topics, led by a high level panel of experts on food security and nutrition.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Speakers at the event include:

Dr Berhe Tekola, Director of the Animal Production and Health Division, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Mr Ali Mohamed dit Séga Camara, Executive Secretary, Conseil National de Sécurité Alimentaire, Government of Senegal

Dr Kisa Juma Ngeiywa, Director of Veterinary Services, State Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Government of Kenya

Professor Philip Lymbery, Visiting Professor, University of Winchester Centre for Animal Welfare

Dr Dil Peeling, Director of Animal Welfare and Sustainability, Brooke