Livestock Production Systems: Towards Sustainability Fit for the 21st Century

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal System and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2021) | Viewed by 8299

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2QL, UK
Interests: controlling folliculogenesis and cryopreservation of ovarian tissue; daily methane emissions; nutrition and reproduction

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St Catharine’s College and Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Interests: welfare assessment; stress; sustainability; sentience; ethics; control of behaviour
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Biosimetrics Ltd., SRUC Edinburgh Campus, King’s Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
Interests: ruminant nutrition; sustainability; animal welfare and modelling of biological systems

Special Issue Information

Demand for animal-derived products is a tale of two worlds. On the one hand, demand and consumption in developed countries has slowed down and will continue to decrease as consumers engage with issues such as climate change, biodiversity reduction, and animal welfare. On the other hand, demand for animal products continues to increase in developing countries at present as incomes increase and urbanization expands. With greater demand, and at the same time changed production requirements, there will be an increasing economic push to intensify animal production but with some significant refinements in methodology.

Intensive animal production systems were developed with a focus on economic aspects of animal-derived products, to maximise production and profit, but not much regard for animal or worker/farmer welfare or environmental impact. Consumers in developed countries, and, increasingly, in developing countries, no longer find such systems to be acceptable. Since the latter regions are where most of the demand will increase in the coming decades, it is of paramount importance that livestock production systems adopt a sustainable approach, including better welfare for livestock. In recent years, efforts across the world have shown that alternative methods of production are possible that incorporate environmental services and animal welfare aspects, increase resource-use efficiency towards carbon-neutral production, and improve social aspects of farming communities. An example is semi-intensive silvopastoral systems. The potential is there and this Special Issue aims to gather current research from across the world that will drive livestock production systems towards the new paradigm of sustainability that is essential for the 21st century.

Dr. Juan Hernandez Medrano
Prof. Donald Broom
Dr. Virgilio Ambriz-Vilchis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sustainability
  • animal welfare
  • livestock systems
  • environmental impact
  • farmer welfare
  • sustainable livestock practices
  • farm animal welfare
  • environmental services
  • biodiversity.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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21 pages, 2098 KiB  
Article
Assessing Sustainability in Cattle Silvopastoral Systems in the Mexican Tropics Using the SAFA Framework
by Fernanda Pérez-Lombardini, Karen F. Mancera, Gerardo Suzán, Julio Campo, Javier Solorio and Francisco Galindo
Animals 2021, 11(1), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010109 - 7 Jan 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3779
Abstract
The sub-humid native rainforest in Yucatan is one of the most endangered in Mexico. Cattle production is one of the main causes of land use change and silvopastoral systems are a feasible alternative. This work compares the sustainable performance of silvopastoral (native and [...] Read more.
The sub-humid native rainforest in Yucatan is one of the most endangered in Mexico. Cattle production is one of the main causes of land use change and silvopastoral systems are a feasible alternative. This work compares the sustainable performance of silvopastoral (native and intensive) and monoculture cattle farms in the state of Yucatan using the Sustainability Assessment for Food and Agriculture (SAFA) framework. Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were applied in 9 farms. Responses were fed to the SAFA Tool to obtain sustainability polygons. Percentages of SAFA themes positively and negatively valuated were calculated. Native farms had positive ratings for Participation, Land, Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity, whereas intensive excelled on Holistic Management. Native farms had limited ratings for Decent Livelihood. Native farms (and one intensive silvopastoral farm) had the highest percentages of themes positively valuated compared to monocultures (and one intensive silvopastoral farm), which scored the lowest. Positive evaluations identified native systems as an option for sustainable production; however, areas of opportunity in all farms were discovered. This is the first comparative study using SAFA to evaluate differences in farming systems in the Mexican tropics, providing valuable information to generate policies and incentives on sustainable livestock production, as well as for improving evaluation tools for local application. Full article
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Review

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11 pages, 267 KiB  
Review
A Retrospective Literature Evaluation of the Integration of Stress Physiology Indices, Animal Welfare and Climate Change Assessment of Livestock
by Edward Narayan, Michelle Barreto, Georgia-Constantina Hantzopoulou and Alan Tilbrook
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1287; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051287 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3551
Abstract
In this retrospective study, we conducted a desktop-based analysis of published literature using the ScienceDirect™ search engine to determine the proportion of livestock research within the last 7 years (2015–2021) that have applied animal welfare assessment combining objective measures of physiological stress and [...] Read more.
In this retrospective study, we conducted a desktop-based analysis of published literature using the ScienceDirect™ search engine to determine the proportion of livestock research within the last 7 years (2015–2021) that have applied animal welfare assessment combining objective measures of physiological stress and evaluation of climate change factors in order to provide an account of livestock productivity. From the search results, 563 published articles were reviewed. We found that the majority of the literature had discussed animal production outcomes (n = 491) and animal welfare (n = 453) either individually or in conjunction with another topic. The most popular occurrence was the combination of animal welfare assessment, objective measures of stress physiology and production outcomes discussed collectively (n = 218). We found that only 125 articles had discussed the impact of climate change (22.20%) on livestock production and/or vice versa. Furthermore, only 9.4% (n = 53) of articles had discussed all four factors and published research was skewed towards the dairy sector. Overall, this retrospective paper highlights that although research into animal welfare assessment, objective measures of stress and climate change has been applied across livestock production systems (monogastrics and ruminants), there remains a shortfall of investigation on how these key factors interact to influence livestock production. Furthermore, emerging technologies that can boost the quantitative evaluation of animal welfare are needed for both intensive and extensive production systems. Full article
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