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Livestock and local development: Going to a new human-animal relationship

By Jean François Tourrand, Laurent Dobremez, Benoit Dedieu, Guillaume Duteurtre, M. G. Piketty, P. Lescoat, B. Hubert

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Along the past ten years, the French National Agency for Research (ANR) has financed projects regarding livestock. Results of five projects were gathered to understand the long-term livestock trends. At the end of the 19th century, animal breeding was oriented towards the production of goods to meet the local, regional, national and global demand, according to the zone. The market gradually became the key-factor to norm both production and consumption. It is now integrating environmental norms and is starting to invest in the social domain. However, this economical vision of animal production does not take into account the other functions of livestock, from “farm fork” to “table fork”. So, in parallel to the multi-functionality of livestock at the farm level, which is mentioned by several authors, livestock has a significant role at the local scale. Furthermore, in the past four decades, animal production sector has known several serious scandals with severe consequences in human health. At the same time, the FAO scoop in 2006 about the significant environmental impact of animal breeding has chocked a large part of the human society. Hence, in parallel to the discredit of animal production towards the consumers, these successive crises have led a part of the local and global society to question the human-animal relationship. In this way, a large part of the urban population with no contact with the rural world, would easily believe in animal welfare, and break the supply chain leading to the slaughterhouse. And to confirm this trend, research institutes are already seeking alternatives to meat and animal proteins. Consequently, maybe it is time now to think imagine other farming systems based on other human-animal relationships and other environment-society interactions; and perhaps to establish an adequate set of policies to strengthen this perspective.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2015
Pages 306-317
Conference Title 23rd International Grassland Congress
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Farm animals
  3. Food animals
  4. Human-animal relationships
  5. Livestock farming
  6. open access
  1. open access