Livestock Diversity

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Approximately 640 million small farmers and 190 million pastoralists raise livestock. Over centuries, rural communities have developed thousands of genetically diverse animal breeds – the source of traits such as disease resistance, high fertility, and ability to thrive in harsh conditions. These traits are essential resources for adapting to climate change. There are 7,616 unique farm animal breeds, but 22 per cent are at risk of extinction, primarily due to growth of industrial livestock production. We are losing one livestock breed per month. Supporting the rights of traditional livestock keepers is crucial to saving vanishing breeds.

Links and Resources

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2007). The State Of The World’s Animal Genetic Resources. Retrieved from
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2012. 24 October). Progress made in stopping decline of livestock genetic diversity. Retrieved from
  • LIFE Network. (2010). Declaration on Livestock Keepers’ Rights. Retrieved from
  • Buerkle, T. (2006, December 15). 20 percent of animal breeds are at risk of extinction. Retrieved from
  • Gura, S. (2003, January 24). Losing Livestock, Losing Livelihoods. Retrieved from

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