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The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Foo

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FAO. 2015. The Second Report on the State of the World‘s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B.D. Scherf & D. Pilling. FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Assessments. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/index.html).

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Contents

Foreword

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations and acronyms

About this publication

Summary

Part 1The state of livestock diversity

Introduction

SECTION A:ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF LIVESTOCK DIVERSITY

1Introduction

2The domestication process

3Dispersal of domesticated animals

4Introgression from related species

5Adaptation of livestock following domestication

6The recent history of livestock diversity

7Conclusions

References

SECTION B:STATUS AND TRENDS OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES

1Introduction

2The state of reporting

3Species diversity and distribution

4Breed diversity and distribution

5Conclusions

References

SECTION C:FLOWS OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES

1Introduction

2Status and trends of global gene flows

3Drivers of gene flow in the twenty-first century

4Effects of gene flows

5Conclusions

References

SECTION D:ROLES, USES AND VALUES OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES

1Introduction

2Contributions to food production, livelihoods and economic output

3Sociocultural roles

4Ecological roles – the provision of regulating and habitat ecosystem services

5Roles in poverty alleviation and livelihood development

6Conclusions and research priorities

References

SECTION E:ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES AND ADAPTATION

1Introduction

2Global information on adaptations

3Adaptation to non-disease stressors

4Disease resistance and tolerance

5Conclusions and research priorities

References

SECTION F:THREATS TO LIVESTOCK GENETIC DIVERSITY

1Introduction

2Livestock sector trends

3Disasters and emergencies

4Animal disease epidemics

5Conclusions

References

SECTION G:LIVESTOCK DIVERSITY AND HUMAN NUTRITION

1Introduction

2Growing interest in food biodiversity

3Filling the knowledge gap

4Potential significance for human nutrition

5Research priorities

References

Part 2Livestock sector trends

Introduction

SECTION A:DRIVERS OF CHANGE IN THE LIVESTOCK SECTOR

1Introduction

2Changes in demand

3Changes in trade and retailing

4Changing natural environment

5Advances in technology

6Policy environment

References

SECTION B:THE LIVESTOCK SECTOR’S RESPONSE

1Landless industrialized production systems

2Small-scale landless systems

3Grassland-based systems

4Mixed farming systems

References

SECTION C:EFFECTS OF CHANGES IN THE LIVESTOCK SECTOR ON ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES AND THEIR MANAGEMENT

1Overview and regional analysis

2Specific effects on animal genetic resources management – examples at country level

References

SECTION D:LIVESTOCK SECTOR TRENDS AND ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES MANAGEMENTCONCLUSIONS

References

Part 3The state of capacities

Introduction

SECTION A:INSTITUTIONS AND STAKEHOLDERS

1Introduction

2Institutional capacities at country level

3Institutional frameworks at subregional and regional levels

4Institutional frameworks and stakeholders at international level

5Changes since 2005

6Conclusions and priorities

References

SECTION B:CHARACTERIZATION, INVENTORY AND MONITORING

1Introduction

2Development of national breed inventories

3Baseline surveys and monitoring of population sizes

4Phenotypic and molecular genetic characterization

5Constraints to characterization, surveying and monitoring

6Conclusions and priorities

References

SECTION C:BREEDING PROGRAMMES

1Introduction

2Global overview

3Stakeholder involvement

4Educational, research and organizational capacities

5Breeding methods and activities

6Breeding policies

7Regional overviews

8Changes since 2005

9Conclusions and priorities

References

SECTION D:CONSERVATION PROGRAMMES

1Introduction

2Global overview

3In situ conservation programmes – elements

4In situ conservation programmes – the roles of the public and private sectors

5Ex situ in vitro conservation programmes

6Regional overviews

7Changes since 2007

8Conclusions and priorities

References

SECTION E:REPRODUCTIVE AND MOLECULAR BIOTECHNOLOGIES

1Introduction

2Global overview

3Stakeholders involved in service provision and research

4Regional overviews

5Changes since 2005

6Conclusions and priorities

References

SECTION F:LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORKS

1Introduction

2International frameworks

3Regional frameworks

4National frameworks

5Changes since 2005

6Gaps and needs

References

Part 4The state of the art

Introduction

SECTION A:CHARACTERIZATION, INVENTORY AND MONITORING

1Introduction

2Characterization as the basis for decision-making

3Tools for characterization, surveying and monitoring

4Information systems

5Changes since 2005

6Conclusions and research priorities

References

SECTION B:MOLECULAR TOOLS FOR EXPLORING GENETIC DIVERSITY

1Introduction

2Developments in the use of DNA markers

3Characterization of within-population diversity

4Characterization of between-population diversity

5Molecular tools for targeting functional variation

6The role of bioinformatics

7Conclusions and research priorities

References

SECTION C:BREEDING STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMMES

1Introduction

2Scientific and technological advances

3The elements of a breeding programme

4Breeding programmes in high-input systems

5Breeding programmes in low-input systems

6Conclusions and research priorities

References

SECTION D:CONSERVATION

1Introduction

2Planning a conservation strategy

3Identifying breeds at risk

4Determining the conservation value of a breed

5In vivo conservation

6Cryoconservation

7Conclusions and research priorities

References

SECTION E:ECONOMICS OF ANIMAL GENETIC RESOURCES USE AND CONSERVATION

1Introduction

2Developments in animal genetic resources economics

3Challenges and opportunities

References

Part 5Needs and challenges

Introduction

SECTION A:CHALLENGES POSED BY LIVESTOCK SECTOR TRENDS

SECTION B:CHARACTERIZATION AND MONITORING

SECTION C:SUSTAINABLE USE AND DEVELOPMENT

SECTION D:CONSERVATION

SECTION E:POLICIES, INSTITUTIONS AND CAPACITY-BUILDING

Annexes(on CD-ROM and on the web at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/index.html)

Country reports

Survey responses – national legal and policy frameworks

Reports from regional focal points and networks

Reports from international organizations

Thematic studies

Supplementary tables for Part 3

List of references reviewed for Part 4 Section E – Economics of animal genetic resources use and conservation

List of authors, reviewers and their affiliations

BOXES

1The first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (2007)

2The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

PART 1

1A1How the history of livestock is reconstructed: archaeology and DNA

1A2Livestock diversity as revealed by molecular studies

1B1Developments since the publication of the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

1B2Glossary: populations, breeds, breed classification systems and regions

1B3Glossary: risk-status classification

1C1Trends in gene flows into and out of Kenya

1C2Gene flows into and out of Thailand

1C3Gene flows into Senegal

1C4Gene flows into and out of South Africa

1C5Gene flows between Uganda and other developing countries

1C6Brazil’s role as an exporter of genetic resources

1C7Influence of policies on gene flows into Cameroon

1C8Effect of a disease outbreak on inward gene flow – an example from the Republic of Korea

1D1Categories of ecosystem services

1D2The use of livestock in the provision of ecosystem services – examples from the United States of America

1D3A special sheep breed helps to preserve centuries-old grassland in the Alps

1D4The use of livestock in the provision of ecosystem services – examples from Poland

1E1Yakutian cattle – a breed well adapted to subarctic climatic conditions

1F1Production system changes as threats to animal genetic resources – a view from Africa

1F2The potential impact of climate change on breed distribution – an example from Kenya

1F3Animal genetic resources and access to grazing land – an example from India

1F4Indiscriminate cross-breeding as a threat to animal genetic resources in Egypt

1F5Lessons from history? Breed extinctions and near extinctions during the nineteenth century

1F6The near extinction of the Cleveland Bay horse of the United Kingdom

1F7The near extinction of the Lleyn sheep of the United Kingdom

1F8Threats to animal genetic resources in Ethiopia

1F9Threats to animal genetic resources in Mozambique

1F10Shifting consumer demand as a threat to animal genetic resources – examples from around the world

1F11Threats to animal genetic resources in the United States of America

1F12Threats to animal genetic resources in Peru

1F13Threats to animal genetic resources in Botswana

1F14Effects of predation on sheep production in Norway

1F15Projections for the risk of climatic disasters

1F16The European Livestock Breeds Ark and Rescue Net

PART 2

2A1Demand for animal-source foods from minority species and breeds

2A2Development of the poultry sector in Thailand

2C1Efficiency and multifunctionality in extensive livestock systems

2C2Shift of livestock species as a result of climate change: an example from Ethiopia

2C3Animal genetic resources management in Iceland: will exotic breeds substitute locally adapted breeds?

2C4The potential influence of genomics on the utilization of at-risk breeds

PART 3

3A1Strategic Priority Area 4 of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources

3A2Elements of the recommended national institutional framework for the management of animal genetic resources

3A3The role of the National Coordinator for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources

3A4Facilitating the establishment of institutional frameworks for animal genetic resources management – lessons from a project in Bulgaria

3A5FAO’s role in the management of animal genetic resources

3A6The Domestic Animal Diversity Network (DAD-Net)

3A7Livestock Keepers’ Rights

3B1Characterization – definitions of terms

3B2China’s second national animal genetic resources survey

3B3BushaLive – a collaborative project to characterize the Busha cattle of the Balkans

3C1Sheep breeding in Tunisia

3C2Kazakhstan’s plan for the development of the beef-cattle industry

3C3Using exotic genetics in the dairy sector – experiences from Poland

3C4Beef cattle breeding in Brazil

3C5Sheep breeding in Jordan

3D1Implementing a conservation programme – experiences from China

3D2Dyeing sheep wool naturally in 35 colours: indigenous production systems and associated traditional knowledge – a case from Argentina

3D3The conservation network for the Finnish Landrace chicken

3D4Iberian pigs in Spain – sustained through product labelling

3D5Reconstituting a research pig line

3D6Conservation of the Gembrong goat of Bali (Indonesia): a breed brought close to extinction by nylon fishing line

3D7Switzerland’s virtual national gene bank – building on the work of the commercial sector

3D8Development of the European Gene Bank Network for Animal Genetic Resources

3E1Glossary: biotechnologies

3E2Glossary: production systems

3E3The use of reproductive technologies in South Africa

3E4The use of reproductive technologies in Botswana

3E5Artificial insemination in sheep and goats – an Indian experience

3E6Biotechnologies for livestock production in Brazil – use and research

3E7Use of biotechnologies in livestock production in the United States of America

3F1Findings of a patent landscape report on animal genetic resources

3F2Viet Nam’s legal framework for animal genetic resources management

3F3Albania’s Law No. 9426 on Livestock Breeding

3F4The Punjab Livestock Breeding Act 2014 (Pakistan)

3F5The legal basis for Turkey’s animal genetic resources management programme

3F6Official recognition of livestock breeds in Brazil

3F7Registration of livestock breeds in Indonesia

3F8The legal and policy framework for breeding programmes in Bhutan

3F9The legal framework for the use of reproductive biotechnologies in Brazil

3F10The legal basis for animal genetic resources conservation in Poland

3F11The regulatory framework for the use of genetically modified organisms in Australia

3F12Animal genetic resources management in Kenya’s National Livestock Policy

PART 4

4A1Phenotypic and molecular characterization

4A2Elements of a country-based early warning and response system

4A3Surveying and monitoring methods – a toolbox

4A4A digital enumeration method for collecting phenotypic data for genome association

4A5Biogeoinformatics for the management of animal genetic resources

4A6Rumen microbes: small but significant

4B1From DNA to phenotype

4B2Glossary: genetic markers

4B3How genetic tools helped to solve the mystery of the origin of the Booroola gene

4B4What are the promises of the post-genomic era?

4B5The reality and promises of epigenetics for animal production

4C1Reduction of genetic variability and its consequences in cattle breeds

4C2Genetically modified animals in agriculture

4C3Adoption of genomic selection in French dairy sheep breeds

4C4Improving the system of sheep breeding in Ireland

4C5GENECOC – the breeding programme for meat goats and sheep in Brazil

4C6Establishing a cross-breeding scheme for dairy goats in the United Republic of Tanzania

4C7Community-driven breeding programmes for locally adapted pig breeds in Viet Nam

4C8Genetic selection for reduced methane production – a future tool for climate change mitigation

4D1Glossary: in vivo and in vitro conservation

4D2Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of Groningen White Headed cattle in the Netherlands

4D3Biocultural community protocols

4D4Identifying keys to success in breed conservation and development in France: the VARAPE project

4D5Indigenous people and scientists team up to conserve Pantaneiro cattle in Brazil

4D6A study of the comparative costs of in vivo and cryoconservation programmes for chickens

4D7Use of induced pluripotent stem cells in in vitro conservation

4D8Bilateral agreement on sanitary issues in germplasm exchange – an example

4E1Biodiversity valuation, ecosystem services and animal genetic resources

4E2Environmental valuation methods

TABLES

1Regional overview of country reporting

2List of country reports

PART 1

1A1Domestication, disperal and sources of introgresssion

1A2Examples of genes or loci involved in selected traits

1B1Status of information recorded in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources

1B2Number of reported mammalian local breeds

1B3Number of reported avian local breeds

1B4Number of reported mammalian transboundary breeds

1B5Number of reported avian transboundary breeds

1B6Number of extinct mammalian breeds reported

1B7Number of extinct avian breeds reported

1B8Breed extinction over time

1C1Regional shares of germplasm exports and imports in the twenty-first century

1D1Global output of animal-source foods (2004 and 2012)

1E1Adaptations in cattle breeds as recorded in DAD-IS

1E2Adaptations in sheep breeds as recorded in DAD-IS

1E3Adaptations in equine breeds as recorded in DAD-IS

1E4Examples of studies indicating breed differences in resistance, tolerance or immune response to specific diseases

1E5Number of mammalian breed populations recorded in DAD-IS as having resistance or tolerance to specific diseases or parasites

1E6Breeds recorded in DAD-IS as showing resistance or tolerance to trypanosomosis

1E7Breeds recorded in DAD-IS as showing resistance or tolerance to tick burden

1E8Breeds recorded in DAD-IS as showing resistance or tolerance to tick-borne diseases

1E9Breeds recorded in DAD-IS as showing resistance or tolerance to internal parasites

1E10Cattle breeds recorded in DAD-IS as showing resistance or tolerance to leukosis

1E11Breeds recorded in DAD-IS as showing resistance or tolerance to foot rot

1E12Avian breeds recorded in DAD-IS as showing resistance to diseases

1F1Estimates of effective population size in transboundary breeds based on genealogical or molecular data

1F2Factors reported in the country reports as causes of genetic erosion

1G1Nutrient composition of selected animal-source foods

1G2Selected nutrient composition ranges for milk from buffalo, horse and dromedary breeds

1G3Selected nutrient composition ranges for beef (longissimus muscle) from different cattle breeds

1G4Mineral content of milk from various species in relation to recommended nutrient intake

PART 2

2A1 Previous and projected trends in meat consumption

2A2Previous and projected trends in milk consumption

2A3Growth in per capita demand for livestock products from 2000 to 2030

2A4Direct and indirect effects of climate change on livestock production systems

2A5Change in area of arable and pasture land (2000 to 2010)

2A6A policy framework for inclusive growth of the livestock sector

2B1Livestock production systems classification

2C1Drivers of change explored in the country-report questionnaire

2C2Past and predicted future impacts of livestock sector trends and drivers on animal genetic resources and their management

PART 3

3A1Reported extent of collaboration in the management of the various subsectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture

3A2Organizations supporting animal genetic resources management at regional and international levels

3A3Institutions and stakeholders – changes 2005 to 2014

3B1Coverage of baseline surveys and monitoring programmes for the big five species

3B2Coverage of baseline surveys and monitoring programmes for cattle

3B3Coverage of baseline surveys and monitoring programmes for sheep, goats, pigs and chickens

3B4Characterization activities for the big five species – average scores

3C1Proportion of countries reporting the existence of breeding programmes – regional breakdown

3C2Proportion of countries reporting the existence of breeding programmes – species breakdown

3C3Extent of involvement of different stakeholder groups as operators of breeding programmes

3C4Level of organization of livestock keepers with respect to animal breeding activities

3C5Level of implementation of breeding-programme elements and techniques – regional breakdown

3C6Level of implementation of breeding-programme elements and techniques – species breakdown

3C7Proportion of breeds reported to be subject to breeding programmes applying straight/pure-breeding and cross-breeding

3D1Proportion of countries reporting conservation activities

3D2Breed coverage in conservation activities for the big five species – average scores

3D3Proportion of countries reporting in situ conservation programmes

3D4Proportion of countries reporting ex situ in vivo conservation programmes

3D5Proportion of countries reporting ex situ in vitro conservation programmes

3D6Level of breed coverage in conservation programmes for “minor” species

3D7Proportion of countries reporting the use of elements of in situ conservation – species breakdown

3D8Proportion of countries reporting the use of elements of in situ conservation – regional breakdown

3D9Proportion of countries reporting the presence of in vitro gene banks, the storage of different types of genetic material, and plans for international collaboration in gene banking

3D10Breed coverage of the big five species in gene banks

3D11Breed coverage of “minor” species in gene banks

3D12Characteristics and functions of national gene banks

3E1Use of reproductive and molecular biotechnologies – regional breakdown

3E2Use of advanced reproductive and molecular biotechnologies – regional breakdown

3E3Level of availability of reproductive and molecular technologies for use in livestock production – big five species

3E4Level of use of artificial insemination and sources of semen

3E5Use of reproductive and molecular technologies – selected “minor” species

3E6Stakeholder involvement in the provision of artificial insemination and embryo transfer services

3E7Proportion of countries reporting research on reproductive biotechnologies

3E8Proportion of countries reporting research on molecular biotechnologies

3E9Changes in the level of use of reproductive biotechnologies since 2005

3F1Priority levels of implementation of the strategic priorities of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources

3F2Indicator scores for the implementation of the strategic priority areas of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources

3F3Progress in the development of legal and policy frameworks

PART 4

4A1Usefulness of different surveying and monitoring tools to address different survey questions

4B1Examples of non-disease phenotypes specific to one or more livestock breeds

4C1Selection criteria in dairy cattle

4C2Selection criteria in beef cattle

4C3Recessive haplotypes tracked in the genomic evaluation system in the United States of America

4C4Selection criteria in sheep

4C5Selection criteria in goats

4C6Selection criteria in pigs

4C7Cross-breeding scheme and relative numbers in a typical broiler breeding programme

4C8Selection criteria in poultry

4C9Selection criteria in rabbits

4C10Characteristics of conventional and community-based livestock breeding programmes

4C11Selected community-based breeding programmes

4D1Conservation methods and their potential to contribute to various objectives

4D2Risk categories for species with high reproductive capacity

4D3Risk categories for species with low reproductive capacity

4D4Relative importance of population management objectives according to risk status

4E1Overview of livestock breed and trait valuation studies by region (2006 to 2014)

FIGURES

1Assignment of countries to regions and subregions in this report

PART 1

1A1Three pathways of domestication

1A2Major centres of livestock domestication as inferred from archaeological and molecular genetic evidence

1B1Proportion of national breed populations for which population figures have been reported

1B2Regional distribution of livestock species in 2012

1B3Number of local and transboundary breeds at global level

1B4Number of local and transboundary breeds at regional level

1B5Proportion of the world’s breeds by risk status category

1B6Risk status of the world’s mammalian breeds in June 2014 – species breakdown

1B7Risk status of the world’s avian breeds in June 2014 – species breakdown

1B8Risk status of the world’s mammalian breeds in June 2014 – regional breakdown

1B9Risk status of the world’s avian breeds June 2014 – regional breakdown

1B10Changes in breed risk status between 2006 and 2014

1C1Trends in the value of global exports of live animals and bovine semen

1C2Do gene flows into and out of your country correspond to the pattern of North–North and/or North–South exchanges?

1C3Trade in pig and bovine genetic resources between OECD and non-OECD countries (2005 to 2012)

1C4Net exporters and importers of bovine semen (2006 to 2012)

1C5South Africa’s trade in live pure-bred cattle and bovine semen

1C6Brazil’s trade in live pure-bred cattle and bovine semen

PART 2

2A1Demand growth for poultry meat in China and India (2000 to 2030)

2A2Net meat trade of major importer and exporter country groups

2B1Distribution of livestock production systems

2B2Production from the main livestock production systems

2B3Meat production trends in developing and developed countries (1981 to 2050)

2B4Proportion of pigs and poultry raised in intensive systems in 2005

2B5Agricultural land available per person economically active in agriculture

2C1Past and predicted future impacts of the drivers of change on animal genetic resources and their management

PART 3

3A1Submission of country reports and nomination of National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources

3A2Employment affiliations of National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources

3A3Status of National Advisory Committees for Animal Genetic Resources

3A4Overview of the state of institutions in animal genetic resources management

3A5State of institutions in animal genetic resources management – Africa

3A6State of institutions in animal genetic resources management – Asia

3A7State of institutions in animal genetic resources management – Latin America and the Caribbean

3A8Indicators for the implementation of Strategic Priority Area 4 of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources

3A9State of infrastructure and stakeholder participation

3A10State of education, research and knowledge

3A11State of policy development

3B1Progress in the establishment of national breed inventories

3B2Characterization activities for the big five species – frequency of responses

3B3Characterization activities for “minor” species

3C1Stakeholder involvement in breeding-related activities in ruminants and monogastrics – global averages

3C2Involvement of breeders’ associations in breeding programmes and elements of breeding programmes

3C3State of training in the field of animal breeding

3C4State of implementation of training and technical support programmes for the breeding activities of livestock-keeping communities

3C5State of research in the field of animal breeding

3C6Proportion of countries reporting breeding programmes and policies supporting breeding programmes

3C7Implementation of breeding tools in cattle (2005 and 2014)

3D1Coverage of in situ conservation programmes for the big five livestock species

3D2Breed coverage in conservation activities for the big five species – frequency of responses

3D3Involvement of public and private institutions in the implementation of in situ conservation programme elements

3D4State of development of in vitro gene banks for animal genetic resources

3D5State of conservation programmes and policies at country level and progress since 2007

3E1Level of availability of reproductive technologies

3F1The status of national strategy and action plans for animal genetic resources

3F2State of development of legal and policy instruments

3F3Types of conservation targeted by legal and policy instruments

3F4Inclusion of animal genetic resources issues in national biodiversity strategies and action plans

PART 4

4A1Management of breed populations – flow chart of decisions

4A2Descriptor system for production environments

4B1Change in cost per genome sequenced in humans

4C1Structure of the poultry breeding industry

4D1Interactions among the potential stakeholders of a community-based conservation programme

4D2A decentralized ex situ conservation programme involving institutional herds and private breeders

4E1Breed production functions, public-good values and replacement opportunity costs

Foreword

Domesticated animals contribute directly to the livelihoods of millions of people, including an estimated 70 percent of the world’s rural poor. In 2007, through the adoption of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, the international community recognized the vital importance of the world’s livestock bio-diversity for agriculture, rural development and food and nutrition security.

Eight years later, the conservation and sustainable management of animal genetic resources remains a vital and challenging task. The global livestock sector is continuously evolving, with new centres of growth emerging and rapid technological developments. The challenges posed by population growth and climate change are ever more present.

The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – another milestone in the work of FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – provides a comprehensive and updated assessment of current livestock biodiversity. It draws on information provided by 129 countries, 15 international organizations, 4 networks and regional focal points and inputs from 150 authors and reviewers.

The preparation of The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture offered an opportunity to review progress made in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action. It was a chance to re-evaluate the opportunities and challenges facing national authorities, livestock keepers, breeders and scientists and to identify future priorities for action.

Many countries have made progress in the establishment of the policies, programmes and institutional frameworks needed to promote the sustainable management of livestock diversity. Many weaknesses still need to be addressed, particularly in developing countries. Smallholder and pastoralist production systems that are home to much of the world’s livestock diversity continue to be under a range of pressures.

A substantial proportion of the world’s livestock breeds remain at risk of extinction. The characteristics of many of them have not been adequately studied, and this genetic wealth could be lost before it can be used for helping farmers, pastoralists and animal breeders to meet current and future production challenges.

Knowledge gaps are still a major concern. Monitoring of trends in the size and structure of breed populations is often inadequate, which impedes the estimation of risk status. Threats have been broadly identified, but the detailed information that could be used to prioritize and plan action at the national level is often lacking.

The priorities set out in the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources remain broadly relevant today. Many countries have prepared national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources, or are in the process of doing so, as a means to translate the provisions of the Global Plan of Action into targeted activities at country level. Nevertheless, constraints to implementation remain. The Global Plan of Action emphasizes the importance of international collaboration as a means of strengthening capacity in developing countries, and recognizes the need for substantial additional financial resources for animal genetic resource management. While there have been positive developments, both collaboration and the provision of funding still need to be strengthened.

Genetic diversity is a mainstay of resilience and a prerequisite for adaptation in the face of future challenges. I trust that this report will help underpin renewed efforts to ensure that animal genetic resources are used and developed to promote global food security, and remain available for future generations.

José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General

Acknowledgements

This report could not have been prepared without the assistance of the many individuals who generously contributed their time, energy and expertise, and the collaboration and support of governments. FAO would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge these contributions.

The core of the information used in the preparation of The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was provided by the 129 governments that submitted country reports; the first and most important acknowledgement therefore goes to these governments and to all the individuals at country level who contributed to these reports and to the updating of breed-related data in the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS), in particular National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources and their colleagues. The African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) was instrumental in mobilizing African National Coordinators and supported their training in the preparation of country reports. Thanks are also due to everyone who contributed to the preparation of the reports submitted by international organizations and regional focal points and networks for animal genetic resources. The preparation of the report would not have been possible without the financial and in-kind support provided by the Governments of France, Germany, Norway and Spain.

The report was prepared by FAO’s Animal Genetic Resources Branch, Animal Production and Health Division. The reporting process and the preparation of the report were coordinated by Beate Scherf with the assistance of Dafydd Pilling. The work was facilitated and supported by the Chief of Animal Genetic Resources Branch, Irene Hoffmann, and all officers of the Branch: Roswitha Baumung, Badi Besbes, Paul Boettcher, Mateusz Wieczorek and Grégoire Leroy (seconded by the French Government). The work was further supported by a number of interns: Bendik Elstad (Norway), Tatiana From (Russian Federation), Katherine Hall (United Kingdom), Claire-Marie Luitaud (France) and Jessica Miller (United States of America).

The database of country-report data was designed, created, loaded and pre-analysed by a team from FAOs Information Technology Division led by Gianluca Franceschini and Karl Morteo. Daniel Martin-Collado undertook much of the database analysis for Part 3 of the report. Peter Deupmann of FAO’s Legal Office provided support to the organization of the survey on legal and policy measures and related work. David Steane contributed to the reviewing of draft country reports. Oliver Mundy contributed to the communication strategy for the launch of the report. Administrative and secretarial support was provided by Kafia Fassi-Fihri and Umberto Ciniglio.

Throughout the preparation process, support and encouragement were received from the Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, as well as from the Director of FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division, Berhe G. Tekola.

150 individuals from more than 40 countries contributed to the preparation of the report as authors or reviewers. Details are provided below, section by section. An alphabetical list of authors and reviewers and their contact details is provided in the annex to the report (on CD-ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e195.pdf).

Authors and reviewers^1^

Part 1 THE STATE OF LIVESTOCK DIVERSITY

Section A: Origin and history of livestock diversity

Author: Johannes Lenstra

Reviewers: Gus Cothran, Charles Moses Liymo, Steffen Weigend, Pam Wiener

Section B: Status and trends of animal genetic resources

Authors: Roswitha Baumung, Mateusz Wieczorek

Reviewer: Mary Mbole-Kariuki

Section C: Flows of animal genetic resources

Authors: Claire-Marie Luitaud, Dafydd Pilling

Reviewers: Arthur Da Silva Mariante, Keith Ramsay

Section D: Roles, uses and values of animal genetic resources

Author: Dafydd Pilling

Reviewers: Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Chanda Bonbehari Nimbkar

Section E: Animal genetic resources and adaptation

Authors: Paul Boettcher, Aynalem Haile, Katherine Hall, Jessica Louise Miller, Tadele Mirkena, Beate Scherf, Maria Wurzinger

Reviewers (Subsection 4): Donagh Berry, Stephen Bishop, Larry Kuehn, Marie-Hélène Pinard-van der Laan

Section F: Threats to livestock genetic diversity

Author: Dafydd Pilling

Reviewers: Kefyalew Alemayehu, Siboniso Moyo

Section G: Livestock diversity and human nutrition

Author: Doris Rittenschober

Reviewers: Ruth Charrondiere, Dominique Gruffat, Jean-François Hocquette, Ramani Wijesinha-Bettoni

Part 2 LIVESTOCK SECTOR TRENDS

Section A: Drivers of change in the livestock sector

Authors: Claire-Marie Luitaud, Anni McLeod

Section B: The livestock sector’s response

Authors: Claire-Marie Luitaud, Anni McLeod

Section C: Effects of changes in the livestock sector on animal genetic resources and their management

Authors: Grégoire Leroy, Claire-Marie Luitaud, Dafydd Pilling

Section D: Livestock sector trends and animal genetic resources management – conclusions

Author: Dafydd Pilling

Reviewers of Part 2: Alejandro Acosta, Harinder Makkar

Part 3 THE STATE OF CAPACITIES

Section A: Institutions and stakeholders

Authors: Katherine Hall, Dafydd Pilling

Reviewers: Vera Matlova, Joseph L.N. Sikosana

Section B: Characterization, inventory and monitoring

Author: Daniel Martin-Collado, Dafydd Pilling

Reviewers: Workneh Ayalew, Kathiravan Periasamy, Michèle Tixier-Boichard

Section C: Breeding programmes

Author: Daniel Martin-Collado

Reviewers: Vlatka Cubric Curik, Olaf Thieme

Section D: Conservation programmes

Author: Daniel Martin-Collado

Reviewer: Kor Oldenbroek

Section E: Reproductive and molecular biotechnologies

Author: Daniel Martin-Collado

Reviewer: Oswin Perera

Section F: Legal and policy frameworks

Authors: Dafydd Pilling, with contributions from Bendik Elstad, Dan Leskien, Irene Kitsara, Brittney Martin and Elżbieta Martyniuk

Reviewers: Harvey Blackburn, Olivier Diana, Dan Leskien, Oliver Lewis, Sipke Joost Hiemstra, Gigi Manicad, Arthur da Silva Mariante, Sergio Pavon

Part 4 THE STATE OF THE ART

Section A: Surveying, monitoring and characterization

Authors: Paul Boettcher, Beate Scherf,

Reviewers: Workneh Ayalew, Xavier Rognon

Section B: Molecular tools for exploring genetic diversity

Authors: Mike Bruford, Grégoire Leroy, Pablo Orozco-terWengel, Andrea Rau, Henner Simianer

Reviewers: Bertrand Bed’Hom, Christine Flury, Catarina Ginja, Johannes Lenstra, Michael Stear

Section C: Breeding strategies and programmes

Authors: Peter Amer, Daniel Allain, Santiago Avendano, Manuel Baselga, Paul Boettcher, João Dürr, Hervé Garreau, Elisha Gootwine, Gustavo Gutierrez, Pieter Knap, Eduardo Manfredi, Victor Olori, Rudolf Preisinger, Juan Manuel Serradilla, Miriam Piles, Bruno Santos, Kenneth Stalder

Reviewers: Hélène Larroque, Tadele Mirkena, Joaquin Pablo Mueller, Julie M.F. Ojango, Mauricio Valencia Posadas

Section D: Conservation

Authors: Harvey Blackburn, Paul Boettcher, Kor Oldenbroek

Reviewers: Andréa Alves do Egito, Jesús Fernández Martín, Sipke Joost Hiemstra, Samuel Rezende Paiva, Geoff Simm

Section E: Economics of animal genetic resources use and conservation

Authors: Workneh Ayalew, Adam Drucker, Kerstin Zander

Reviewer: Giovanni Signorello

Part 5 NEEDS AND CHALLENGES

Author: Beate Scherf

The manuscript was further reviewed by Stuart Barker (Parts 1 and 2), David Notter (Parts 1, 2, 4 and 5), David Steane and Akke J. Van der Zijpp (Parts 1, 2 and 5). All the officers of FAO’s Animal Genetic Resources Branch also contributed to the reviewing process.

Text boxes were prepared by Aron Batubara, Harvey Blackburn, Elli Broxham, Tobias Bühlmann, Adrian Cookson, Christèle Couzy, Yvette De Haas, Sebastián de la Rosa, Solange Duruz, Gemma Henderson, Sipke Joost Hiemstra, Erika Hiltbrunner, Mervi Honkatukia, Heather J. Huson, Peter Janssen, Stéphane Joost, Talgat Karymsakov, Bill Kelly, Sajjad Khan, Jason K. Kinser, Eirini Kitsara, Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Christian Körner, Kristaq Kume, Sinead Leahy, Johannes Lenstra, I Made Londra, Catherine Marguerat, Arthur Da Silva Mariante, Lucie Markey, Elżbieta Martyniuk, Evelyn Mathias, Yakobo Msanga, Philipp Muth, Chanda Bonbehari Nimbkar, Raimundo Nonato Braga Lôbo, Cleopas Okore, Bertrand Pain, Boulbaba Rekik, Fred Silversides, Tad S. Sonstegard, Johann (Hans) Sölkner, Sylvie Stucki, Thi Thuy Le, Bess Tiesnamurti, Sergio Ulhoa Dani, Anne Valle Zárate, Curtis P. Van Tassell, Iosif I. Vaisman, Marcus Vinicius de Oliveira, Klaus Wimmers, Jennifer Woodward-Greene, Hongjie Yang and Tobias Zehnder.

The thematic study Ecosystem services provided by livestock species and breeds with special consideration to the contributions of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists was prepared by Irene Hoffmann, Tatiana From and David Boerma. The study Patent landscape report on animal genetic resources was prepared by Paul Oldham, Stephen Hall and Colin Barnes, with contributions from Irene Hoffmann and Paul Boettcher.

The draft report was made available for review by members and observers of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Comments, submitted by the respective National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources, were received from the Governments of Brazil, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Turkey and the United States of America and from a review group established by the European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources.

The layout was designed by Simona Capocaccia and implemented by Enrico Masci under the supervision of Claudia Ciarlantini.

Listing every person by name is not easy and carries with it the risk that someone may be overlooked. Apologies are conveyed to anyone who provided assistance but whose name has been omitted.

1Listed in alphabetical order within each section.

Abbreviations and acronyms

About this publication

Background

This report serves as an update of the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (see Box 1), published in 2007,1 which provided the basis for the development of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources,2 adopted in 2007 as the first internationally agreed framework specifically targeting the management of livestock biodiversity.

FAO’s reports on the state of the world’s genetic resources are prepared under the guidance of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture3 (see Box 2). To date, in addition to the first SoW-AnGR, two reports have been published on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (1998 and 2010)^4^ and one on forest genetic resources (2014).5

Scope and contents of the report

This report addresses the sustainable use, development and conservation of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture (AnGR) worldwide. The term AnGR here refers to the genetic resources of mammalian and avian species used or potentially used for food and agriculture. The report consists of the following five parts.

Part 1 provides a broad overview of livestock diversity, including the origins and history of AnGR, the status and trends of AnGR (the state of genetic diversity as indicated by the risk status of breed populations), the state of gene flows (movements of AnGR around the world), the uses, roles and values of AnGR, the adaptedness of AnGR to environmental stressors, threats to AnGR, and the influence of genetic diversity on the composition of animal-source food products.

Part 2 discusses livestock-sector trends and how they are affecting AnGR and their management.

Part 3 discusses the state of capacity to manage AnGR, including institutional frameworks, programmes for inventory, characterization and monitoring, breeding strategies and programmes, conservation programmes, the use of reproductive and molecular bio-technologies, and legal and policy frameworks.

Part 4 discusses the “state of the art” in the management of AnGR, including methods, tools and strategies used in inventory, characterization and monitoring, breeding programmes, conservation programmes and economic valuation of AnGR.

Part 5 draws on the material presented in the other parts of the report to provide an assessment of gaps and needs in the management of AnGR and how they can be addressed.

The report serves as basis for a review and potential update of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources.

The reporting and preparatory process

In April 2013, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture requested FAO to coordinate the preparation of The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (second SoW-AnGR), focusing particularly on changes that had occurred since the preparation of the first SoW-AnGR.6

The first draft of the report was prepared between January and October 2014. In November 2014, it was submitted to the Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (a subsidiary body of the Commission charged with addressing issues relevant to the management of animal genetic resources)^7^ for review. The first draft included Parts 1, 2, 3 and 5 of the report. At the request of the Fifteenth Regular Session of the Commission (January 2015), a revised draft, including all five parts, was made available for comments by members and observers of the Commission in May 2015. The report was finalized, taking comments received into account.

Inputs to the report

The main sources used to prepare the second SoW-AnGR were as follows:

Country reports

In August 2013, FAO invited its 191 member nations, as well as non-member nations, to submit country reports on the management of their AnGR, using a standardized electronic questionnaire8 that had been endorsed by the Commission and finalized by the Bureau9 of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Government-appointed National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources led the preparation of the reports in their respective countries.

The country-report questionnaire10 consisted of four sections:

I. Executive summary

II. Data for updating the parts and sections of The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

• Flows of animal genetic resources

• Livestock sector trends

• Overview of animal genetic resources

• Characterization

• Institutions and stakeholders

• Breeding programmes

• Conservation

• Reproductive and molecular biotechnologies

III. Data contributing to the preparation of The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture^11^

• Integration of the management of animal genetic resources with the management of plant, forest and aquatic genetic resources

• Animal genetic resources management and the provision of regulating and supporting ecosystem services

IV. Progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources – 2007 to 201312

• Strategic Priority Area 1: Characterization, Inventory and Monitoring of Trends and Associated Risks

• Strategic Priority Area 2: Sustainable Use and Development

• Strategic Priority Area 3: Conservation

• Strategic Priority Area 4: Policies, Institutions and Capacity-building

• Implementation and financing of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources

Country reports were received between 31 January 2014 and 22 May 2014. Comments on the completeness and internal consistency of the reports were provided to National Coordinators. Based on these comments, final versions of the country reports were submitted. The data provided in the country reports were loaded into a database for analysis.

One hundred and twenty-eight country reports13 were received in the standardized format – 30 from OECD countries (88 percent of OECD countries) and 98 from non-OECD countries (61 percent of non-OECD countries). The regional breakdown of the reporting is summarized in the Table 1. The full list of reporting countries is shown in Table 2.

Survey responses on policy and legal frameworks

Detailed questions on national-level legal and policy frameworks affecting the management of AnGR were not included in the country-report questionnaire. In order to enable the respective section of the report (Part 3 Section F) to be updated, FAO conducted a separate survey on this issue. In September 2013, National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources were requested to complete an electronic questionnaire14 on the legal and policy frameworks in their respective countries. The following 46 countries provided responses: Australia, Austria, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, the United States of America, Uruguay, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe.15

Reports from regional focal points and networks

In February 2014, regional focal points and networks for the management of AnGR were invited to provide reports (based on a standardized electronic questionnaire)^16^ on activities related to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action in their respective regions. In accordance with the reporting framework agreed by the Commission, the regional focal points and networks were requested to highlight collaborative efforts at regional level and indicate regional priorities for capacity-building in relation to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, rather than to provide a summary of national-level activities in the region. Reports17 were received from the following regional focal points and networks:

1. the European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources;

2. the Regional Focal Point for Latin America and the Caribbean;

3. the Animal Genetic Resources Network – Southwest Pacific; and

4. the Asian Animal Genetic Resources Network.

Reports from international organizations

In February 2014, 209 international organizations were invited to report (based on a standardized electronic questionnaire)^18^ on their contributions to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, in particular on any activities, programmes or projects undertaken or supported by the respective organization. Reports19 were received from the following fifteen organizations: the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD); the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR); Bioversity International; the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP); Heifer International; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR); the International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA); the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP); the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen); Rare Breeds International (RBI); Safeguard for Agricultural Varieties in Europe (SAVE Foundation); and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Thematic studies

Two thematic studies providing in-depth analysis of specific topics relevant to the management of AnGR were prepared as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process:

• Ecosystem services provided by livestock species and breeds, with special consideration to the contributions of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists;20

• The patent landscape for animal genetic resources.21

Other sources

In addition to the sources mentioned above, the second SoW-AnGR draws on a range of literature and data sources. The latter include the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS),22 FAO’s legal database FAOLEX,23 FAO’s statistical database FAOSTAT,24 the FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Database for Biodiversity (BioFoodComp)^25^ and the UN Comtrade Database.26 The analysis of DAD-IS data for Part 1 Section B of the report (Status and trends of AnGR) was carried out in July 2014.

Regional classification of countries

The assignment of countries to regions and subregions for the purposes of the second SoW-AnGR follows the assignment used in the first SoW-AnGR (see Figure 1). This assignment was based on a number of considerations, including production environments, cultural factors and the distribution of shared AnGR. Because of these various considerations, the regional groupings do not correspond exactly to the standard FAO regions used in FAO statistics and for FAO election purposes (although for most countries the assignment does not differ from the standard classification).

Seven regions are distinguished, three of which are further subdivided into subregions:

• Africa (East Africa, North and West Africa, Southern Africa);

• Asia (Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia);

• Europe and the Caucasus;

• Latin America and the Caribbean (Caribbean, Central America, South America);

• the Near and Middle East;

• North America; and

• the Southwest Pacific.

1FAO. 2007a. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at www.fao.org/3/a-a1250e.pdf).

2FAO. 2007b. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1404e/a1404e00.htm).

4FAO. 1998. The State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome (http://www.fao.org/agriculture/crops/core-themes/theme/seeds-pgr/sow/en/); FAO. 2010. The Second Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome (http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1500e/i1500e00.htm).

5FAO 2014. The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/forestry/fgr/64582/en/).

6CGRFA-14/13/Report, paragraph 71 (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/028/mg538e.pdf).

11In 2013, the Commission requested FAO to prepare The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, a report focusing on interactions between the different subsectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture and on cross-sectoral matters (CGRFA-14/13/Report) (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/028/mg538e.pdf).

12In 2009, the Commission agreed to a timetable and format for reporting on progress made in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources at national level (CGRFA-12/09/Report) (ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/017/k6536e.pdf). The first round of reporting took place in 2012 (CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/Inf.3) (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/026/me636e.pdf). A second round of reporting was incorporated into the country-reporting process for the second SoW-AnGR.

Summary

About this report

The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture provides a comprehensive assessment of the state of livestock biodiversity and its management. It sets out the latest available information on the origin and history of animal genetic resources (AnGR), trends in the status of AnGR, the uses, roles and values of AnGR, the adaptive characteristics of AnGR and threats to AnGR diversity. It presents an overview of livestock-sector trends and their effects on AnGR and their management. It describes the state of capacity to manage AnGR and the state of the art in methods and strategies for their management. It reviews progress made in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, adopted in 2007 as the first internationally agreed framework for the management of livestock biodiversity. It ends with an assessment of gaps and needs in AnGR management.

The report draws on information provided in 129 country reports, 15 reports from international organizations, 4 reports from regional focal points and networks for AnGR management and inputs from 150 authors and reviewers. It is intended to serve as an update of the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, published in 2007, and focuses particularly on developments since the first report was prepared.

Key findings

Livestock diversity facilitates the adaptation of production systems to future challenges and is a source of resilience in the face of greater climatic variability

Livestock production systems face many challenges. The precise demands that will be placed on the livestock of the future are difficult to predict. However, coping with climate change, new disease challenges, restrictions on the availability of natural resources and changing market demands will require a diverse range of AnGR. Adaptedness to harsh conditions and resilience in the face of extreme climatic events and other shocks are likely to be important. Potential synergies in efforts to promote sustainable AnGR management, improve livelihoods and achieve environmental objectives need to be exploited. Appropriate management strategies require better knowledge of the roles, uses and values of AnGR, particularly in the livelihoods of poor people, and better knowledge of the effects of livestock on ecosystem functions.

The roles and values of animal genetic resources remain diverse, particularly in the livelihoods of poor people

While livestock’s roles in the provision of some products and services are gradually being replaced as alternative sources become more widely available, the use of livestock remains very diverse. There is a need to understand these diverse roles and how they are changing. This will help ensure that AnGR are well matched to the needs of livestock keepers and society. It will also help identify potential threats to AnGR diversity arising because particular breeds are no longer valued for their former functions and may therefore face an increased risk of extinction. Livestock’s roles in the provision of ecosystem services related to the regulation of ecological functions, landscape management and the provision of wildlife habitats remain under-researched and undervalued. Interest in the connection between genetic diversity and the nutritional contents of animal-source foods for human consumption is increasing, but this field has not yet received much research attention.

The adaptations of specific species and breeds to specific environmental challenges need to be better understood

The adaptive characteristics of individual breeds (e.g. ability to cope well with extremes of temperature, restricted water supply, poor-quality feed, rough terrain, high elevations and other challenging aspects of the production environment) have generally not been studied in great depth. Some progress has been made over recent years in terms of expanding our understanding of the genetics of disease resistance and tolerance, including the relative susceptibilities of specific breeds to specific diseases. However, many reported instances of resistance or tolerance remain anecdotal (i.e. have not been evaluated in scientific studies). Lack of information remains the major constraint to the integration of genetic approaches into disease-control strategies.

The world’s livestock diversity remains at risk

The proportion of livestock breeds classified as being at risk of extinction increased from 15 percent to 17 percent between 2005 and 2014. A further 58 percent of breeds are classified as being of unknown risk status because no recent population data (from the last ten years) have been reported to FAO. The number of breeds at risk is therefore likely to be underestimated. Monitoring of population trends is a prerequisite for prompt and effective action to protect breeds from extinction. Erosion of within-breed diversity can be a problem even in breeds whose total population size remains very large.

The assessment of threats to animal genetic resources needs to be improved

Action to prevent the loss of livestock diversity will be more effective if the factors that drive genetic erosion and extinction risk are well understood. While there is considerable agreement among stakeholders regarding the range of factors that can be considered potential threats to AnGR diversity, the magnitude of these threats and the ways in which they combine to affect particular breeds in particular circumstances are often unclear. Information provided in the country reports suggests that indiscriminate cross-breeding, economic drivers and changing market demands, weaknesses in AnGR management programmes, policies and institutions, degradation of natural resources (or problems with access to such resources), climate change and disease epidemics are major threats.

Institutional frameworks for the management of AnGR need to be strengthened

While progress has been made in terms of improving the basic prerequisites for effective AnGR management at national level (adequate physical infrastructure, effective mechanisms for stakeholder participation, high-quality education and research programmes, good knowledge and awareness of AnGR-related issues, and appropriate legal and policy frameworks and capacity to implement them) many weaknesses remain, particularly in developing countries. While a number of examples of international cooperation in research and other aspects of AnGR management are described in the country reports, international collaboration remains a relatively underdeveloped element of the implementation of the Global Plan of Action.

Establishing and sustaining effective livestock breeding programmes remains challenging in many countries, particularly in the low-input production systems of the developing world

Implementing a livestock breeding programme is a challenging task that involves a number of different elements. Over recent years, a number of countries have made progress in terms of putting some of these elements in place (e.g. the establishment of animal identification and registration schemes). However, the country reports indicate that, in developing regions in particular, these elements do not always form part of coherent genetic improvement programmes for the breeds concerned. Even where programmes exist, they are often of a rudimentary nature and operate on a limited scale. A lack of adequate organizational structures for the involvement of livestock keepers and breeders in the planning and implementation of breeding schemes often inhibits the establishment of more effective programmes.

Conservation programmes for animal genetic resources have become more widespread, but their coverage remains patchy

Most countries that participated in the reporting process indicate that they now have at least some AnGR conservation activities in place. In vitro gene banks have been established by 64 countries and a further 41 countries are planning to do so. Many of these gene banks are in the early stages of development and the collections often have many gaps in their coverage of relevant breeds and populations. The coverage of in situ conservation activities (actions that support the maintenance of livestock populations in their usual production environments) is also incomplete. However, a diverse range of different activities are reported. For example, countries increasingly report the development of niche markets for speciality products as a means of increasing the profitability of potentially threatened breeds.

Emerging technologies are creating new opportunities and challenges in animal genetic resources management

Substantial advances have been made in genomic technologies over recent years. These technologies have improved understanding of the genetic basis of heritable traits and have increased the efficacy of some breeding programmes. However, in global terms, the impact of these technologies has been largely limited to certain international transboundary breeds kept in high-input systems. Although various circumstances influence the applicability of these tools, a primary facilitating factor is the availability of phenotypic and pedigree data. Increasing the collection of these data is of critical importance, not only for the effective use of genomics, but for any type of genetic improvement or conservation programme.

The impact of many livestock sector trends on animal genetic resources and their management is increasing

The major changes that have affected the global livestock sector over recent decades – including the rapid expansion of large-scale high-input production systems in parts of the developing world, growing pressures on natural resources, the partial replacement of some of livestock’s roles as alternative sources of provision become available, and changes in the livelihood and lifestyle opportunities available to rural people – have had a substantial impact on AnGR and their management. Countries generally report that they expect such effects to be even greater in the coming years than they have been in the recent past. Growth in demand for animal-source food continues to create major challenges for the sustainable use of AnGR. South Asia and Africa are projected to become the main centres of growth in meat and milk consumption. These are very resource-constrained regions that are home to many small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists and to a diverse range of AnGR. Other drivers of change predicted to have a major effect on AnGR management in the coming years include climate change, technological developments and policy factors. Keeping track of trends of this kind and identifying their potential effects on demand for particular species and breeds and on capacity to maintain a diverse portfolio of livestock diversity is an important part of planning the long-term sustainable management of AnGR, both at national level and globally.

Livestock diversity and the sustainable management of animal genetic resources are acquiring a greater foothold on policy agendas

Despite the limited amount of time available for reporting, 129 countries submitted country reports for use in the preparation of this report. As of May 2015, 177 countries had nominated National Coordinators for the Management of AnGR and 112 report that they have prepared, are in the process of preparing or are planning to prepare national strategies and action plans for AnGR. Many countries report that they have developed legal instruments or policies targeting improvements to the management of AnGR. At international level, the importance of genetic resources for food and agriculture, including AnGR, has been highlighted in several major initiatives and agreements (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and Aichi Targets, and the draft post-2015 development goals).

What needs to be done?

Strategic priorities for action in the management of AnGR are set out in the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. The analysis presented in this report suggests that these strategic priorities remain relevant.

Efforts still need to be made to strengthen the main elements of sustainable AnGR management. Priorities include:

• improving knowledge of the characteristics of different types of AnGR, the production systems in which they are kept and the trends affecting these production systems;

• developing stronger institutional frameworks for AnGR management, including mechanisms that allow for better communications among stakeholders and facilitate the participation of livestock keepers in the planning and implementation of AnGR-related policies and programmes;

• improving awareness, education, training and research in all areas of AnGR management, including in the emerging fields of access and benefit sharing, ecosystem services and climate change adaptation and mitigation;

• strengthening breeding strategies and programmes so as to enable full advantage to be taken of available genetic diversity and ensure that AnGR are well matched to their production environments and to societal needs; and

• expanding and diversifying conservation programmes, where possible combining approaches that provide for ongoing use of livestock breeds in their usual production environments with those that provide for backup storage of genetic material.

National strategies and action plans for AnGR provide a means of translating the provisions of the Global Plan of Action into well-targeted activities that meet specific needs at country level. Countries that have not yet developed a national strategy and action plan should consider doing so. Countries that have already developed such instruments should ensure that they are implemented. In many cases, improving AnGR management at national level will also require strengthening National Focal Points for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources.

In addition to individual strategic priorities, the Global Plan of Action also addresses the question of implementation and funding, emphasizing the need for long-term commitment and the need to devote substantial and additional financial resources to improving the sustainable management of AnGR. Many country reports stress that lack of funding is a major constraint to the improvement of many aspects of AnGR management. These funding gaps need to be addressed.

The Global Plan of Action also emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in AnGR management. There is a need to strengthen global- and regional-level activities related both to the management of shared resources (transboundary breeds) and to the transfer of technologies and knowledge that facilitate the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR.

Part 1

THE STATE OF LIVESTOCK DIVERSITY

Introduction

Part 1 of the report begins by describing advances in research on the origin of the diversity of today’s animal genetic resources for food and agriculture (AnGR) – the domestication and history of livestock species. This is followed by a description of the current status and trends of AnGR diversity and the extent to which this diversity is threatened by genetic erosion. The next section describes patterns of international exchange of AnGR. The roles and values of AnGR, including their direct and indirect contributions to livelihoods and economic output, are then described. This is followed by a discussion of the various adaptive characteristics, including genetic resistance and tolerance to specific diseases and parasites, that enable livestock breeds to survive and produce in a range of different production environments. The next section addresses threats to the diversity of the world’s AnGR. In the final section of Part 1, livestock diversity is discussed in relation to human nutrition. All sections highlight, in particular, changes that have occurred since the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007)^1^ was prepared.

AnGR are here taken to include those animal species that are used, or may be used, for food production and agriculture,2 and the populations within each. Distinct populations within species are usually referred to as breeds. FAO (1999)^3^ defines a breed as:

“either a subspecific group of domestic livestock with definable and identifiable external characteristics that enable it to be separated by visual appraisal from other similarly defined groups within the same species or a group for which geographical and/or cultural separation from phenotypically similar groups has led to acceptance of its separate identity.”

The broad definition of the term “breed” is a reflection of the difficulties involved in establishing a strict definition of the term. Further information on the development of the breed concept is provided in the first SoW-AnGR.4

1FAO. 2007. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1250e/a1250e00.htm).

2Fish are excluded as management requirements and breeding techniques are very different.

3FAO. 1999. The Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources. Executive brief. Rome (available at http://dad.fao.org/cgi-bin/getblob.cgi?sid=-1,50006152).

4FAO, 2007, pages 339–340.

Section A

Origin and history of livestock diversity

1Introduction

Genetic diversity provides the raw material for breed improvement and for the adaptation of livestock populations to changing environments and changing demands. Information on the origin and history of animal genetic resources (AnGR) is essential to the design of strategies for their sustainable management (Ajmone-Marsan et al., 2010; Felius et al., 2014). The first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007) provided a review of the state of knowledge of the domestication of livestock species and their subsequent dispersal around the world.1 Since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared, a considerable amount of research work has been undertaken in this field. In particular, further development of genomic tools (see Box 1A1) has allowed the use of genome-wide information in the investigation of various aspects of the history of livestock species. This section provides an updated overview of the state of knowledge in this field, focusing particularly on recent advances. It describes, in turn, the initial domestication process, subsequent introgression2 of wild species into domesticated species, adaptations that occurred after domestication and, finally, relatively recent breed formation.

2The domestication process

Theories about the process of livestock domestication have continued to develop since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared (Larson and Burger, 2013; Larson and Fuller, 2014). Animals can be considered domesticated if they are bred in captivity and (after several generations) have become adapted to being kept by humans. Once animals have been domesticated, their reproduction is controlled by their human keepers, who provide them with shelter and feed and protect them against predators (Diamond, 2002; Mignon-Grasteau et al., 2005). Only 15 out of 148 non-carnivore terrestrial mammalian species weighing more than 45 kg have been domesticated (Table 1A1). From the 10 000 avian species, only very few (chicken, turkey, pheasant, guinea fowl, duck, Muscovy duck, goose, pigeon, quail and ostrich) have been domesticated as a source of food. According to Diamond (2002), successful domestication depends on the presence of several traits in the target species:

  • behavioural traits that facilitate management by humans (e.g. a lack of aggression towards humans, a tendency not to panic when disturbed and strong social instincts);
  • reproductive traits, such as the ability to breed in captivity, short intervals between births and (preferably) large litter sizes; and
  • physiological traits, such as rapid growth and a non-carnivorous diet.

Domestication may have been triggered by climatic changes at the end of the Pleistocene (12000 to 14000 BP) that led to localized expansion of human populations and the emergence of crop farming (Larson and Burger, 2013). Domestication scenarios remain uncertain. However, it is clear that they varied from species to species. Three plausible pathways –“commensal”, “prey” and “directed”– have recently been proposed (Larson and Burger, 2013) (see Figure 1A1). The first of these pathways involved animals being attracted to human settlements and then becoming captive as a source of food. The second involved the capture of artiodactyl3 prey animals as a means of securing a supply of meat. Once domesticated, these species also provided other products, such as milk, wool and leather. Later, some were also used for ploughing. The third pathway, which came into play later in history, involved deliberate efforts to exploit the specific capabilities of the target species (e.g. their potential as pack, riding or draught animals).

There is now consensus about which wild species were the ancestors of the various domesticated livestock species (Table 1A1). Livestock domestication is thought to have occurred in at least 15 areas of the world (Figure 1A2). Inferences regarding the dates of domestication events (Table 1A1) remain approximations. Skeletal remains identified as belonging to domesticated species on the basis of their morphology are never as old as the first domesticates. Close genetic relationships between domestic and wild populations in other parts of the world (i.e. outside the recognized domestication centres) are considered to indicate introgression (Larson and Burger, 2013). Views on the location of domestication centres have evolved since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared (Larson et al., 2014). For example, evidence indicating pig domestication in Europe and in Indonesia is now considered to be a result of introgression. Similarly, it is now accepted that Africa was not a centre of cattle domestication and that the river buffalo originated in India rather than in Mesopotamia (although the evidence for the latter conclusion is not abundant). Recent studies have indicated an African origin for the donkey and distinct origins for Chinese and European geese.

Recently, Wilkins et al. (2014) proposed, as a general mechanism of domestication, that selection for tameness induced a mild neural crest cell deficit during embryonic development, which attenuated behaviour and also modified several morphological and physiological traits related to domestication (e.g. smaller brain and depigmentation).

3Dispersal of domesticated animals

Knowledge of the dispersal of livestock species from their centres of domestication during the prehistoric period is based on a synergic combination of archaeology and molecular genetics. For later periods, written and pictorial documentation is also available. More information is available on cattle (followed by sheep) than on other livestock species, and migrations within Europe are better documented than those in other regions. Zebu cattle and water buffalo only migrated within tropical and subtropical climate zones, while the distributions of dromedaries, Bactrian camels, llamas, alpacas, reindeer, yaks, Bali cattle and mithun are even more restricted. Since the first SoW-AnGR was prepared, molecular studies have filled several gaps in our knowledge of the dispersal of livestock species.

In Europe, the introduction of crops and livestock from Southwest Asia occurred around 8500 BP. Domesticated livestock followed two major routes into Europe, the first along the Mediterranean coast and the second along the Danube, arriving in the British Isles around 6500 BP (Gkiasta et al., 2003). A detailed archaeological study in Anatolia that reconstructed the westward movements of sheep, goats, cattle and pigs (Arbuckle and Makarewicz, 2009) suggested that these species migrated independently of each other. The occurrence of the T1 mitochondrial haplotype from African cattle in Spain indicates that gene flow also occurred across the Strait of Gibraltar (Bonfiglio et al., 2012). Short-horn cattle emerged around 5000 BP in southwest Asia and gradually replaced the original long-horn cattle in most parts of Europe (Mason, 1984). The introduction of the horse was associated with the spread of the Indo-European language around 4500 BP and was probably accompanied by migrations of people and other livestock (Balter and Gibbons, 2015).

During the Roman Era, cattle and sheep were exported from Italy to other parts of the Empire. From the fourth to the eighth century, the Germanic migrations also led to large-scale movements of livestock. Presumably, these migrations preceded the paternal founder effects that are believed to have led to the north−south contrast detected in the Y-chromosomal variation of cattle in Europe (Edwards et al., 2011). A Y-chromosomal haplotype in sheep of British or Nordic origin (Niemi et al., 2013) and the fixation of a goat Y-chromosomal haplogroup in central and northern Europe (Lenstra, 2005) indicate similar paternal founder effects.

In Asia, sheep, goats and taurine cattle migrated to China before 4500 BP (Jing et al., 2008). Cattle arrived in Japan around 2500 BP (Minezawa, 2003). Further to the south, zebu cattle were introduced around 3000 BP (Payne and Hodges, 1997). The introduction of the domestic swamp buffalo, which is more suitable than cattle for ploughing rice paddies, followed the spread of wet rice cultivation in China, Indochina, the Philippines and Indonesia. The river buffalo, domesticated in India, arrived around 900 to 1000 AD in Egypt, the Balkans and southern Italy.

Taurine cattle and other livestock species arrived in Africa around 7000 BP from southwest Asia (Brass, 2012). As in Europe, the original long-horn cattle were replaced by short-horns, although long-horns still exist in some parts of Africa. There are pictures of zebus in Egypt dating from around 4000 BP, but substantial zebu populations were not established at that time (Payne and Hodges, 1997). Import of zebu bulls into Africa was probably stimulated by the Arabian invasions after 700 AD. Cross-breeding to taurine cattle generated taurindicine populations, such as the sanga, which remained mainly taurine and 500 years ago was the dominant type of cattle in central and eastern Africa. Gene flow into western African taurine populations was stimulated by nomadic Fulani pastoralists. The Bantu expansion southwards from the Great Lakes region led to the introduction of sheep into southern Africa around 2000 BP and sanga cattle around 1500 BP (Payne and Hodges, 1997). At the end of the nineteenth century, a rinderpest epidemic led to the spread of zebu cattle with little taurine ancestry in East and West Africa.

Domestic chickens appeared around 8000 BP in Southeast Asia and were introduced around 4500 BP into India and Oceania, around 3000 BP into Europe and around 2300 BP into Africa. It is thought that Polynesians had already brought chickens to South America via the Pacific before 1492 (Storey et al., 2012).

The European colonization of America after 1492 introduced cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys and chickens. South and Central America and the southern part of North America initially received Iberian livestock, including horses, which transformed the sedentary indigenous societies of the prairies. Further to the north, English-speaking settlers imported northwest-European livestock. In the nineteenth century, cattle of Iberian descent were largely replaced by, or cross-bred with, zebus from South Asia.

As well as accompanying human migrations into new areas, the dispersal of livestock populations was also stimulated by the need to import animals from neighbouring regions following major losses caused by epidemics, famines or plundering. Gene flow was further stimulated by trading, the use of horses and dromedaries for transport, the nomadic lifestyles of cattle-herding peoples and the seasonal transhumant movements of cattle and sheep in several parts of the Old World.

The wide dispersal of the major livestock species had the following effects:

  • genetic “isolation by distance”, which led to the development of many regional types, many of which already existed in the eighteenth century, when livestock diversity started to be documented;
  • a decrease in molecular genetic diversity correlating with distance from centres of origin, caused by founder effects; this effect has been observed in European goats (Canon et al., 2006), African and European cattle (Cymbron et al., 2005; Freeman et al., 2006), the mtDNA of cattle worldwide (Lenstra et al., 2014) and Arabian horses (Khansour et al., 2013); however, founder effects were often counteracted by cross-breeding with wild or other domestic populations (see Subsections 4 and 6 below); among sheep, the spread of the Merino breed from the the sixteenth century onwards anticipated the spread of other successful livestock breeds in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries;
  • so-called “diversity enhancing gene flow” (FAO, 2007), the development of additional diversity as a result of adaptations to diverse environments (see Subsection 5 below).

4Introgression from related species

The genetics of several livestock populations were enriched after the initial split from the wild ancestral species (Table 1A1). Plausible scenarios include capture of wild animals to replenish domestic populations and introgression from wild males.

Taurine and zebu cattle descend from different aurochs populations. A major contribution from African aurochs bulls is plausible (Decker et al., 2014). However, it is not clear whether there was substantial input from European wild bulls (Beja-Pereira et al., 2006; Lari et al., 2011). Local populations in Asia have received maternal input from other Bos species (Lenstra et al., 2014). In several tropical and subtropical regions, taurine and zebu cattle introduced during different periods along different routes formed taurindicine populations when brought into contact. Chinese yellow cattle populations harbour both taurine and zebu Y-chromosomes and mtDNA and the African sanga combines both Y-chromosomal types with taurine mtDNA (Hanotte et al., 2000; Li et al., 2013). Other taurindicine cattle carry a zebu Y-chromosome and taurine mtDNA (Ajmone-Marsan et al., 2010).

The origins of domestic sheep and goats are relatively uncomplicated because of the narrow geographical ranges of their wild ancestors. However, possible introgression from other sheep and goat species has not been investigated. The European mouflon is a feral descendant of the first domestic immigrants and has been shown to breed with domestic sheep in Sardinia (Ciani et al., 2014).

In Europe, the first domestic pigs were immigrants from southwest Asia. As a result of continuous introgression, these populations came to be closely related to the European wild boar (Larson and Burger, 2013). In the case of horses, it has been also proposed that the first domesticates were crossed with wild animals, but the relative homogeneity of the horse Y-chromosome suggests that only wild females were added to the domestic population (Warmuth et al., 2012). A similar scenario has been suggested for chickens, in which mtDNA patterns suggest post-domestication introgression from various Asian red jungle fowl populations (Miao et al., 2013). Introgression from the grey jungle fowl of India introduced a BCDO2 gene variant, which confers yellow skin colour and has reached a high frequency in domestic chicken (Eriksson et al., 2008).

5Adaptation of livestock following domestication

After domestication, livestock species adapted to being kept by humans via changes to their behaviour, morphology, appearance, physiology and performance (Mignon-Grasteau et al., 2005). Species that spread beyond their centres of domestication also had to adapt to new physical environments (new climates, feeds, diseases, etc.).

An obvious, if superficial, difference between most domestic species and their wild ancestors is in the colour of their coats, plumage or skins. Driven by human aesthetic sense rather than the need for camouflage or signal display, several colours and patterns emerged in domestic animals that are not observed in wild species (Ludwig et al., 2009; Linderholm and Larson, 2013). In several species, domestication was accompanied by a reduction in size, which made the animals easier to handle (Zeder et al., 2006b). In addition, sexual dimorphism in bovine species was greatly reduced, because males no longer had to fight for dominance. In Europe, taurine cattle gradually decreased in size between the Neolithic and the end of the Middle Ages, with a temporary preference for large animals in the Roman Empire (Lenstra et al., 2014; Felius et al., 2011). In the post-Medieval period, a shift from subsistence farming to market production, together with improvements in animal husbandry, led to larger cattle again being preferred. Similar changes occurred in goats, sheep and pigs. Another aspect of the adaptation of cattle, sheep and goats to the domestic environment was a reduction in horn length. A step further, the complete loss of horns, occurred in several breeds of cattle and sheep (Medugorac et al., 2012).

In several livestock species, adaptation led, at an early stage, to the development of different conformational types:

  • the humpless taurine and humped indicine cattle ecotypes, resulting from independent domestications (see Subsection 2);
  • the thin-tailed, fat-tailed and fat-rumped sheep ecotypes, the latter two adapted to desert environments (Wang et al., 2014); and
  • warmblood, coldblood and pony horses.

Molecular genetic studies, especially genome-wide association studies and whole-genome sequencing, allow adaptive traits to be linked to genomic regions, genes or even mutations. Several examples are listed in Table 1A2. Several traits have been subject to selection within breeds (see Table 4B1 in Part 4, Section B), but the corresponding mutation may have predated breed formation. For instance, the breed distribution of the derived DGAT1 allele in cattle, which was identified as a result of efforts to localize milk quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in the Holstein, reveals an old origin and an early role in the development of dairy cattle (Kaupe et al., 2004).

6The recent history of livestock diversity

The last 250 years have seen changes on a scale unprecedented in the history of livestock diversity. From the earliest times, livestock keepers had influenced the characteristics of their animals through selective breeding. However, developments in England during the late eighteenth century marked the beginning of a new era and had major consequences for the future of livestock diversity throughout the world. Systematic performance recording, identification of animals and pedigree recording, managed by breeders’ associations and documented in herd books, led to the development of more homogenous breeds. Explicit breeding objectives accentuated the existing differences between geographically separated populations. This led not only to the fixation of breed-specific traits, with coat colour being the easiest target (Linderholm and Larson, 2013), but also to an increase in production. Within half a century, the new breeding practices had been widely adopted in Europe and North America. The degree of genetic isolation varied from one breed to another. Island and fancy breeds were often isolated and became inbred, but most breeds continued to interact with others as a result of upgrading, intentional cross-breeding or unintended introgression. Not all newly formed breeds were equally successful. Even before the end of the nineteenth century several had been absorbed by other populations (Felius et al., 2014; 2015).

Other developments also had a major effect on the geographic distribution of livestock diversity. In the nineteenth century, railways increased mobility and facilitated the long-distance transportation of livestock. Steamships enabled the transportation of large numbers of animals across the oceans. These developments initiated what is referred to in the first SoW-AnGR as the “second phase of global gene flow”, which lasted from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century and saw a large expansion in the geographical distribution of several successful breeds (Valle Zárate et al., 2006; Felius, 2015). Most of these breeds were of European origin, but (as noted above) Indian zebus were exported to the Americas and Chinese pigs were crossed with European pig populations (Bosse, 2014; Felius, 2015).

During the period following the Second World War, artificial insemination became common in cattle and pig breeding. This helped to break down genetic isolation by distance, and catalysed the “third phase of global gene flow”,4 which is still continuing. As a result of these developments, a limited number of transboundary breeds (see Part 1 Sections B and C) have become very widespread and increasingly dominate livestock production throughout the world. This has tended to lead to the decline of locally adapted breeds (see Part 1 Sections B and F). At the same time, crossing of breeds from different parts of the world has added to the breed repertoire, for instance, through the development of synthetic taurine and taurindicine cattle breeds in the United States of America and Australia (Felius, 2015) and the Assaf sheep in Israel.

The genetic diversity harboured in today’s breeds is being actively researched (FAO, 2011), to date mainly using neutral markers (i.e. markers that have no known effect on the phenotype) (Groeneveld et al., 2010). As described above (see in particular Box 1A1), diversity studies are instrumental to the reconstruction of genetic events that have shaped the present diversity patterns of livestock species, including ancestry, prehistoric and historical migrations, admixture and genetic isolation. Some general conclusions about the current state of livestock diversity drawn from molecular studies are summarized in Box 1A2. See Part 4 Section B for a detailed discussion of the use of molecular tools in the characterization of livestock diversity.

7Conclusions

Over recent years, the latest molecular tools have contributed to a better understanding of the genetic basis of domestication and have helped in the identification of a growing list of genes involved in adaptation. Four sources of the genetic diversity present in today’s livestock populations can be distinguished:

1. sequestration of part of the genetic repertoire of the wild ancestral species;

2. acquisition of additional diversity as a result of contact with other populations or related species during the dispersal of domesticated species;

3. selection of gene variants conferring adaptation to a variety of environments and capacity to serve a variety of different purposes; and

4. breed formation and systematic breeding, which accentuated differences between populations and increased productivity while decreasing overall molecular genetic diversity.

Conservation efforts have tended to focus on the fourth, and most recent, source of diversity, i.e. on diversity generated by breed formation. However, diversity derived from the third source, environmental adaptation, is likely to be old in origin and is highly relevant to the maintenance of future breeding options.

The genetic constitution of livestock species and breeds will probably be as dynamic in the future as it has been in the past. Moreover, our growing knowledge of the molecular characteristics of current livestock populations may very well be used to direct the ongoing domestication of other species, such as various types of deer and ratites.

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1FAO, 2007, Part 1 Section A (pages 5–22).

2Reproductive contacts that have left traces of DNA from one population in another population.

3Even-toed hoofed animals (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, camels, etc.).

4FAO, 2007, pages 53–55.

Section B

Status and trends of animal genetic resources

1Introduction

The monitoring system for the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007a) consists of two elements. One line of reporting focuses on the process of implementing the Global Plan of Action (see Part 3 and FAO, 2014a). The other focuses on animal genetic resources (AnGR) themselves, as the state of these resources constitutes a measurable indicator of the success of the Global Plan of Action (FAO, 2013a).

Data for monitoring the status and trends of AnGR on a world scale are drawn from the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, a database of breed-related data that FAO began to build up in the early 1990s. Since 1995, the Global Databank has formed the backbone of the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS). Data from the Global Databank were used to prepare three editions of the World Watch List for Domestic Animal Diversity (FAO, 1993; 1995; 2000), as well as The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007b). They have subsequently been used to prepare biennial reports on the status and trends of AnGR (FAO, 2009; 2011; 2013b; 2014b).

This section presents a global overview of the diversity and status of AnGR. The analysis is based on DAD-IS data made available by countries by June 2014. It serves as an update of the analysis presented in the first SoW-AnGR, which was based on data from 2006.1 Box 1B1 outlines changes in the approach to reporting and data analysis that have been introduced for the second SoW-AnGR process. The section begins by describing the state of reporting on AnGR and the progress made in this respect during the period between January 2006 and June 2014. A description of the current regional distribution of livestock species and breeds is then presented, followed by an overview of the risk status of the world’s livestock breeds. Trends in risk status are then described.

2The state of reporting

As breed population data are provided by individual countries, the basic unit from which an analysis of global status and trends has to be built is the national breed population. The number of national breed populations recorded in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources increased from 2 719 in 1993 to 5 330 in 1999 and 14 017 in 2006 when the first SoW-AnGR was drafted. By June 2014, the total number of entries had risen to 14 869 (Table 1B1). While the number of national breed populations recorded rose sharply during the period preceding the preparation of the first SoW-AnGR, the percentage for which any population data had been recorded declined. These figures have improved since 2006 as a result of population data being added to the records in the Global Databank (Table 1B1). However, as shown in Figure 1B1, many gaps remain. Moreover, even where some population data have been reported, many have not been recently updated (see further discussion below). It should also not be assumed that the national breed inventories recorded in DAD-IS are complete. As discussed in Part 3 Section B, many countries consider that they have not yet established comprehensive breed inventories at national level, and it is also likely that not all identified breeds have been entered into DAD-IS, particularly in the case of species that are not regarded as priorities in the respective countries.

3Species diversity and distribution

DAD-IS records breed-related information on 19 mammalian species, 17 avian species and two fertile interspecies crosses (Bactrian camel × dromedary and duck × Muscovy duck). As was the case when the first SoW-AnGR was published, five species – cattle, sheep, chickens, goats and pigs (the so-called “big five”) – are widely distributed across the world and have particularly large global populations. The first three are the most widely distributed livestock species globally, while the latter two are less evenly spread (Figure 1B2). The total global population of each of these species increased between 20052 and 2012. Figures from FAO’s statistical database FAOSTAT show an increase of 23 percent in the chicken population, 12 percent in the goat population, 10 percent in the pig population, 7 percent in the cattle population and 4 percent in the sheep population over this period.3

The world’s cattle population reached almost 1.5 billion in 2012. Asia accounts for one-third of the total (highest numbers in India and China, together accounting for about 22 percent of the world total). Latin America accounts for 27 percent (highest numbers in Brazil, alone accounting for 14 percent of the global total), Africa for 17 percent (highest numbers in Ethiopia and the United Republic of Tanzania), Europe and the Caucasus for 9 percent (highest numbers in the Russian Federation and France), North America for 7 percent (highest numbers in the United States of America), the Near and Middle East for 4 percent (highest numbers in Sudan and Egypt) and the Southwest Pacific for 3 percent (highest numbers in Australia). The pattern of regional distribution has not changed greatly since 2005. Asia and Africa have increased their shares of the world total, while the shares of Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and Europe and the Caucasus have declined. In the latter two regions, the cattle population has fallen slightly in absolute terms.

The world’s sheep population reached almost 1.2 billion in 2012. Asia accounts for 37 percent of the total (highest numbers in China and India), Africa for 22 percent (highest numbers in Nigeria and Ethiopia), Europe and the Caucasus for 14 percent (highest numbers in the United Kingdom and Turkey), the Near and Middle East for 10 percent (highest numbers in Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic), the Southwest Pacific for 9 percent (highest numbers in Australia and New Zealand), Latin America and the Caribbean for 7 percent (highest numbers in Brazil and Argentina) and North America for 1 percent. The most dramatic change in the regional distribution of the world’s sheep population since 2005 has been a sharp decline in the proportion of the global population accounted for by the Southwest Pacific (share of the total falling by 4 percent; population size falling by 25 percent in absolute in terms). The sheep populations of North America and Europe and the Caucasus have also declined, both in absolute size and in terms of global share. In contrast, Africa and Asia account for larger shares of the world sheep population than they did in 2005, with Africa’s sheep population having risen by 19 percent in absolute terms.

The world’s goat population reached approximately 1 billion in 2012. Goats are widely distributed in developing regions, but less so in developed regions. Asia (56 percent; highest numbers in China and India), Africa (30 percent; highest numbers in Nigeria and Kenya) and the Near and Middle East (7 percent; highest numbers in Sudan and Yemen) account for the vast majority of the world’s goats. There are also significant populations in Latin America and the Caribbean (3 percent; highest numbers in Mexico and Brazil) and in Europe and the Caucasus (3 percent; highest numbers in Turkey and Greece). The main change since 2005 has been a large increase in Africa’s goat population (share of the global total rising by 4 percent, and population size rising by 27 percent in absolute terms).

The world’s pig population reached almost 1 billion in 2012. Asia accounts for 60 percent of the world total, with China alone accounting for 49 percent. Europe and the Caucasus accounts for 19 percent (highest numbers in Germany and Spain), Latin America and the Caribbean for 9 percent (highest numbers in Brazil and Mexico), North America for 8 percent (highest numbers in the United States of America) and Africa for 4 percent (highest numbers in Nigeria). The pattern of regional distribution has not changed greatly since 2005. Asia has increased its share. The shares of Europe and the Caucasus and North America have fallen, with the former region experiencing an absolute fall in the size of its pig population. From a relatively low starting point, Africa’s pig population has increased by 37 percent since 2005.

The world’s chicken population reached more than 21 billion in 2012. More than half the total (53 percent) is found in Asia, where the largest producers are China and Indonesia. Latin America and the Caribbean accounts for 15 percent of the total (highest numbers in Brazil and Mexico); Europe and the Caucasus for 11 percent (highest numbers in the Russian Federation and Turkey); North America for 10 percent (highest numbers in the United States of America); Africa for 7 percent (highest numbers in Nigeria and South Africa) and the Near and Middle East for 3 percent (highest numbers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt). Since 2005, the chicken population has increased in all regions except North America. Asia has increased its share of the total world population, while the shares of Europe and the Caucasus and North America have declined.

4Breed diversity and distribution

This subsection discusses the geographical distribution of breeds belonging to the local and transboundary categories, presents a summary of the current risk status of the world’s breeds and considers trends in breed risk status since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared.

4.1Geographical distribution of local and transboundary breeds

The Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources currently contains data from 182 countries and 38 species. The total number of breeds recorded in the Global Databank increased from 7 616 in 2006 to 8 774 in 2014. Out of this total, 7 718 are local breeds (i.e. breeds present in only one country – see Box 1B2); the equivalent figure in 2006 was 6 536. The remaining 1 056 are transboundary breeds (i.e. breeds present in more than one country); the equivalent figure in 2006 was 1 080. Among trans-boundary breeds, 510 (compared to 523 in 2006) are regional transboundary breeds (occur in only one region) and 546 (compared to 557 in 2006) are international transboundary breeds (occur in more than one region). A total of 647 breeds (compared to 690 in 2006) are classified as extinct. Four of these extinct breeds (compared to nine in 2006) are transboundary breeds (three regional and one international).4

Figure 1B3 shows the share of local, regional transboundary and international transboundary breeds among the mammalian and avian breeds of the world (excluding extinct breeds). The shares of the breed classes have remained more or less constant since 2006. Figure 1B4 presents a regional breakdown of the figures.

As in 2006, more than two-thirds of reported breeds belong to mammalian species. Mammalian breeds outnumber avian breeds in all regions of the world. The number of mammalian regional transboundary breeds is similar to the number of international transboundary breeds. In contrast, there are twice as many avian international transboundary breeds as there are avian regional transboundary breeds.

Tables 1B2 and 1B3, respectively, show the number of reported local breeds of mammalian and avian species in each region of the world. The totals in some categories have fallen since 2006 because of corrections made by some countries to their breed inventories recorded in DAD-IS.

Tables 1B4 and 1B5, respectively, show the number of reported regional transboundary breeds of mammalian and avian species in each region of the world. The existence of significant numbers of regional transboundary breeds has implications for the use and conservation of AnGR, and highlights the need for cooperation at regional or subregional levels. For several mammalian species, including sheep, horses and pigs, Europe and the Caucasus, has the highest number of regional transboundary breeds. Africa has a relatively large share of regional trans-boundary breeds in most of the species listed and has more regional transboundary breeds of cattle and goats than any other region. Europe and the Caucasus has by far the highest number of regional transboundary breeds among avian species.

4.2Breed risk status

As described in Box 1B1, since the publication of the first SoW-AnGR, the method for assigning breeds to risk-status categories has been amended by the introduction of a ten-year cut-off point, beyond which the risk status of a breed is considered to be unknown if no population data from more recent years have been reported. The results presented in this subsection are therefore not directly comparable to those presented in the first SoW-AnGR. Trends based on comparable figures from 2006 and 2014 are presented below (Subsection 4.3).

A total of 1 458 breeds (17 percent of all breeds, including those that are extinct) are classified as being at risk. The percentage of breeds classified as being of unknown risk status has increased from 34 percent in 2012 (as calculated for that year’s status and trends report – FAO, 2013b) to 58 percent in 2014, mainly because of the above-mentioned new method of assigning risk status.

Figure 1B5 shows that the proportion of mammalian breeds classified as at risk (16 percent) is lower than the proportion of avian breeds (19 percent). However, in absolute terms, the number of breeds at risk is higher among mammals (955 breeds) than among birds (503 breeds).

Figure 1B6 presents risk-status data for mammalian species. It can be seen that horses, sheep and cattle are the mammalian species with the highest number of breeds at risk. Rabbits (45 percent) followed by horses (22 percent) and asses (17 percent) are the species that have the highest proportions of breeds at risk. Figure 1B6 also shows the large number of breeds for which no risk-status data are available. The problem is particularly significant in some species – 93 percent for deer breeds, 66 percent for ass breeds and 98 percent for dromedary breeds. This lack of data is a serious constraint to effective prioritization and planning of breed conservation measures. Cattle are the species with the highest number of breeds (184) reported extinct. Large numbers of extinct breeds of sheep (160), pig (107) and horse (87) are also reported.

Among avian species, chickens have by far the highest number of breeds at risk (Figure 1B7). As in the case of mammals, there are a large number of avian breeds for which population figures are unavailable. Extinct breeds have mainly been reported among chickens. There are also a few reported cases among ducks, guinea fowl and turkeys.

The regions with the highest proportion of their breeds classified as at risk are Europe and the Caucasus (31 percent of mammalian breeds and 35 percent of avian breeds) and North America (16 percent of mammalian breeds). These are the regions that have the most highly specialized livestock industries, in which production is dominated by a small number of breeds. In absolute terms, Europe and the Caucasus has by far the highest number of at-risk breeds. Despite the apparent dominance of these two regions, problems in other regions may be obscured by the large number of breeds with unknown risk status (Figure 1B8).

The new method for calculating risk status (based on a ten-year cut-off point – see Box 1B1) draws attention to the fact that during the ten years up to June 2014 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, the Near and Middle East, North America and the Southwest Pacific reported almost no population data for any avian breeds. Almost all the avian breeds from these regions are therefore classified as being of unknown risk status. Likewise, for more than 90 percent of Africa’s avian breeds and more than 80 percent of Asia’s avian breeds, lack of recent population data means that no risk status can be assigned (Figure 1B9).

Tables 1B6 and 1B7 show the number of extinct mammalian and avian breeds, broken down by species and region. Europe and the Caucasus has reported far more extinct mammalian and avian breeds than any other region – 7 percent of all breeds reported from this region are extinct. The dominance of Europe and the Caucasus in terms of the number of breeds reported extinct may relate, at least in part, to the relatively advanced state of breed inventory and monitoring in this region. The year of extinction has been reported for only 33 percent of extinct breeds (214). Seven breeds are reported to have become extinct before 1900, 111 between 1900 and 1999, 66 between 2000 and 2005, and 30 after 2005 (Table 1B8).

4.3Trends

Previous attempts to summarize global trends in breed risk status have been affected by the confounding effects of ongoing corrections to breed inventories. To counter this problem, the trends in breed risk status presented in this report are calculated based on the most up-to-date current and historical data available in DAD-IS at the time of calculation, rather than by comparing current data to those presented in older reports (see Box 1B1). Figure 1B10 shows trends in breed risk status between 2006 (when the first SoW-AnGR was drafted) and 2014. The proportion of breeds classified as at risk increased from 15 percent to 17 percent; the proportion of breeds classified as not at risk decreased from 21 percent to 18 percent and the proportion of breeds reported to be extinct remained stable at 7 percent. The number of breeds for which no risk status can be calculated, either because of a complete lack of data on their population sizes or because no population data are recorded for the preceding ten years, remains very high – 58 percent in 2014 compared to 57 percent in 2006. In short, the available data indicate that genetic erosion has continued over the 2006 to 2014 period, with the proportion of breeds falling into the at-risk category increasing, relative both to the total number of recorded breeds and to the number for which population data are available. However, the full picture of the status and trends of breed risk remains to a large degree obscured by gaps in current and historical data on breed population sizes.

5Conclusions

Since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared, the number of national breed populations recorded in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources has increased. However, breed-related information remains far from complete. For almost two-thirds of all reported breeds, risk status is unknown because of a lack of population data. The problem is particularly marked in some regions. For example, in Africa, more than 80 percent of breed populations have no recorded population data for any of the last ten years. In the Southwest Pacific, the equivalent figure is 90 percent.

As a result of the introduction of the ten-year cut-off point after which breeds revert to the “unknown” risk-status category, the percentage of breeds with unknown risk status has increased significantly relative to the figures presented in the first SoW-AnGR. Because of this new calculation method, direct comparisons with the risk-status figures presented in the first SoW-AnGR are not possible. However, trends based on comparable figures – calculated using the most up to date current and historical data available in the Global Databank – indicate that erosion is ongoing.

Missing population data remains the biggest weakness of the current monitoring system, along with the non-coverage of cross-bred populations, which represent a large part of livestock populations worldwide. To arrive at a more comprehensive picture, all livestock populations, regardless of their level of cross-breeding, need to be included within one consistent monitoring system.

References

FAO. 2007a. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1404e/a1404e00.htm).

FAO. 2007b. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at www.fao.org/3/a-a1250e.pdf).

FAO. 2009. Status and trends of animal genetic resources – 2009. Fifth Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 28–30 January 2009 (CGRFA/WG-AnGR-5/09/Inf. 7). Rome (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meet-ing/016/ak220e.pdf).

FAO. 2011. Status and trends of animal genetic resources – 2010. Thirteenth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 18–22 July 2011 (CGRFA-13/11/Inf. 17). Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/022/am649e.pdf).

FAO. 2013a. Report of the Fourteenth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 15–19 April 2013. CGRFA-14/13/Report. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/028/mg538e.pdf).

FAO. 2013b. Status and trends of animal genetic resources – 2012. Fourteenth Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 15–19 April 2013 (CGRFA-14/13/Inf.16 Rev.1). Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/027/mg046e.pdf).

FAO. 2014a. Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources – 2014. Eighth Session of the intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 26–28 November 2014 (CGRFA/WG-AnGR-8/14/inf. 5). Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-at136e.pdf).

FAO. 2014b. Status and trends of animal genetic resources – 2014. Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 26–28 November 2014 (CGRFA/WG-AnGR-8/14/inf. 4). Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-at135e.pdf).

FAOSTAT. FAO statistical database (available at http://faostat.fao.org/) (accessed in June 2014).

FAO/UNEP. 1993. World watch list for domestic animal diversity. First edition, edited by R. Loftus & B. Scherf. Rome.

FAO/UNEP. 1995. World watch list for domestic animal diversity. Second edition, edited by B. Scherf. Rome (available at http://dad.fao.org/cgi-bin/getblob.cgi?sid=-1,50006347).

FAO/UNEP. 2000. World watch list for domestic animal diversity. Third edition, edited by B.D. Scherf. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/x8750e/x8750e00.htm).

1FAO, 2007a, Part 1 Section B (pages 23–49).

2The analysis of species diversity and distribution presented in the first SoW-AnGR was based on FAOSTAT figures for 2005.

3Calculations based on FAOSTAT data accessed September 2014.

4The 2006 figures presented in this paragraph are taken from the first SoW-AnGR, i.e. they do not account for corrections that countries have made to their breed inventories in DAD-IS since 2006. For example, the apparent fall in the number of extinct breeds between 2006 and 2014 is caused by corrections of this kind.

Section C

Flows of animal genetic resources

1Introduction

The term “gene flow” is used to describe the movement and exchange of breeding animals and germplasm. Gene flow in domesticated species has been occurring for thousands of years – ever since livestock populations first began to spread from their centres of domestication (see Part 1 Section A). Throughout most of history, gene flows occurred through the movement of live animals. More recently it has become possible to move genetic material around the world in the form of frozen semen and embryos. The analysis presented below is intended to serve as an update of material presented in the equivalent section1 of the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007), and focuses particularly on changes that have occurred since the first SoW-AnGR was prepared.

1.1The state of knowledge in 2007

The first SoW-AnGR presented a description of the main historical phases of gene flow. To summarize: during the first of these phases, which lasted from prehistory until the eighteenth century, gene flow occurred via gradual diffusion. Livestock, including breeding animals, were moved from region to region as a result of migration, warfare, exploration, colonization and trade. During the second phase, roughly spanning the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, standardized breeds, breeding organizations and genetic improvement programmes based on pedigree and performance recording were established in Europe and North America. International gene flow occurred predominantly within these regions and to a lesser extent from these regions to other parts of the world. An exception to this pattern was the movement of cattle breeds from South Asia to tropical Latin America and parts of Africa. During this period, gene flows were affected by technological developments (e.g. improvements to transportation and communication), demand for high-producing animals and the growing commercialization of animal breeding. The third phase, which began in the mid-twentieth century, has seen an acceleration of gene flows as a result of the globalization of trade, the standardization of livestock production systems, and new technologies such as artificial insemination, embryo transplantation and genomics. Major gene flows occur between the countries of the developed “North” and from the North to the developing “South”.2 These flows have been dominated by a limited number of breeds originating from the temperate regions of the world. Some gene flows also occur between the countries of the South. South to North gene flows are limited. In addition to technological developments and demand from breeders and livestock keepers for high-output animals, gene flows during this phase have been influenced by government policies in both importing and in exporting countries, and by zoosanitary regulations.

In addition to discussing historical developments, the first SoW-AnGR also presented an overview of the global distribution of livestock species and breeds.3 Again summarizing briefly, many breeds have spread beyond their countries of origin (1053 of these so-called transboundary breeds are now recorded in DAD-IS – see Section B). However, the number of breeds that have achieved global or near global distribution is limited, and dominated by breeds originating from the North, such as Holstein-Friesian cattle and Large White pigs. For each of the main livestock species, the first SoW-AnGR provided a description of the extent to which breeds from each region of the world had spread internationally and the significance of their roles in livestock production outside their countries of origin. This analysis again indicated the dominance of Northern breeds, but also highlighted the significance of South Asian breeds in Latin America. It also showed that some breeds originating from developing countries (e.g. Awassi sheep and Boran cattle) have acquired considerable significance within their home regions and to some extent beyond. Breeds with recent Southern ancestry are generally little used in the North, the main exceptions being certain breeds of ruminants used in grazing systems in the hotter parts of countries such as Australia. These include breeds developed in the North (e.g. Brahman cattle, developed in the United States of America, based on genetics from South Asia) and those developed in the South (e.g. South Africa’s Africander cattle).

The final subsection of the first SoW-AnGR’s chapter on gene flow discussed consequences for the diversity of animal genetic resources (AnGR). It noted that throughout history gene flow had provided the basis for the development of a wide range of breeds adapted to local production environments and the needs of livestock keepers and wider society. It listed the following circumstances in which gene flow can enhance diversity:

  • an imported population adapts to the local environment and over time a new (locally adapted) breed or population develops;
  • imported animals are crossed with those from existing locally adapted breeds to produce new composite breeds;
  • imported genetics are judiciously introduced as “fresh blood” into a breed population in order to maintain the vitality of the gene pool; and
  • targeted transfer of genes for specific desirable characteristics into a recipient population using marker-assisted introgression.4

However, it also noted that gene flow could also lead to the loss of diversity, for example if breeds are driven to extinction because they are replaced by exotic alternatives or if indiscriminate cross-breeding with exotic breeds leads to genetic dilution.

1.2Sources of information

The country-report questionnaire5 did not require countries to provide detailed quantitative information on current gene flows or on trends over time. However, it requested countries to indicate whether their current patterns of gene flow corresponded to the above-described pattern in which exchanges are dominated by “North−North” and “North−South” gene flows – and if not, to provide details of the exceptions. Countries were also asked to provide information on the effects that gene flows are having on their AnGR and the management of these resources. Another question asked countries to provide information on any changes in the volume, type or direction of gene flows during the last ten years, and to describe the consequences of any such changes.

Additional data on gene flows were obtained from the UN Comtrade Database,6 which covers trade in bovines (live pure-bred and semen), horses (live pure-bred), swine (pigs) (live pure-bred, live except pure-bred weighing less than 50 kg) and fowls (live domestic weighing less than 185 grams). These data are not exhaustive. For example, they do not cover informal trade, such as that associated with transhumance, cross-border migration of human populations or unofficial markets, or confidential information from private companies. It is also not always possible to distinguish breeding animals from slaughter animals.

2Status and trends of global gene flows

While fully comprehensive data on international gene flows are not available, UN-Comtrade figures indicate that there have been substantial recent increases in the value of global exports in the various categories of live animals and genetic material covered. Between 2005 and 2012, global trade in bovine semen increased by US$0.2 billion, to reach US$0.4 billion. Reported exports of bovine semen from the United States of America exceeded US$131 million in 2012, compared to US$58 million in 2006. The data presented in Figure 1C1 seem to indicate that the rate of growth in international trade accelerated from about 2006 onwards.7 Bovine semen exports increased at a rate of 8 percent per year during the period 2000 to 2006 and by 21 percent per year during the period 2006 to 2012.

While most country reports do not include detailed quantitative data on gene flows, the descriptive answers indicate that many countries have experienced increased gene flows over recent years. Significant changes in the nature of gene flows over the preceding ten years are reported more frequently by countries from developing regions than by those from developed regions, with the most commonly mentioned changes being increases in the import of cattle and chicken genetic resources.

2.1North–South and North–North gene flows

Both the information provided in the country reports and the UN Comtrade data indicate that the North continues to dominate global exports, and to a lesser extent global imports, of breeding animals and genetic material. Almost 60 percent of country reports state that imports and exports of genetic resources include no significant exceptions to the dominant pattern of North to North and/or North to South exchanges (Figure 1C2). As shown in Table 1C1, UN-Comtrade figures indicate that between 2000 and 2012, Europe and the Caucasus, North America and the Southwest Pacific (together approximately representing the North) accounted for between 91 and 99 percent of the total value of global exports, and between 60 and 99 percent of the value of imports, in the various categories of breeding animals and genetic material for which data are available.

In 2012, the North, as represented by OECD countries, accounted for 98 percent of live pure-bred swine exports, 99 percent of bovine semen exports and 87 percent of live pure-bred cattle exports (Figure 1C3). Non-OECD countries have slightly increased their share of global bovine semen imports over recent years. By 2012, they accounted for about a third of global imports, the vast majority of which originated from the OECD. In the case of live pure-bred cattle, non-OECD countries accounted, by 2012, for the majority of global imports (67 percent). Latin America and the Caribbean is the main destination of North–South gene flows. For example, it has accounted for about a quarter of total global imports of bovine semen since 2000 (Table 1C1).

Most country reports do not include quantitative information on the destinations of the respective country’s AnGR exports. However, Spain’s report notes a substantial recent shift towards exports to the South. The share of North–North exchanges in the country’s total export trade in bovine semen is reported to have fallen from 58 percent to 33 percent between 2005 and 2012. By the end of this period, South American countries accounted for 30 percent of Spain’s exports and Kenya for 8 percent.

Figure 1C4 shows which of the world’s countries are net exporters and which are net importers of bovine semen (based on UN-Comtrade data). It can be seen that the net exporters, apart from New Zealand and a very small number of developing countries, are clustered in North America and northwestern Europe. In interpreting these figures, it should be noted that the main net exporters of genetic resources are often also substantial importers of genetic material. For example, both the United Kingdom and the United States of America are among the world’s top three importers of bovine semen.

In the pig sector, UN-Comtrade figures again indicate the dominance of exports from the North. In 2012, North–North flows, as represented by exchanges between OECD countries, accounted for 70 percent of global trade in pure-bred pigs. North–South flows accounted for 28 percent. In this sector, the share of North– North flows has increased in recent years. This is a result of increased imports of pig genetic resources into some European countries, a trend that is noted in several country reports from Europe. The report from Poland, for example, states that “enhanced import of pig breeding stock and weaners for fattening operations … contributed to the decline of the national sow stock and overall pig numbers.” In the chicken sector, the UN-Comtrade figures presented in Table 1C1 show that global exports are dominated by Europe and the Caucasus and North America. As noted above, the country reports from a number of developing countries describe increases in their imports of chicken genetic resources. Among developed countries, the country report from Japan mentions increased dependence on imported genetic resources in both the pig and the chicken sectors.

Although global-scale import and export figures are unavailable for species other than cattle, chickens, pigs and horses, the country reports provide many examples of trade involving the export of small ruminants and several “minor” livestock species from the North. While trends are not always clear, it appears that in many developing countries such imports have increased over the last decade. Examples of North–South trade are described in Boxes 1C1, 1C2, 1C3, 1C4 and 1C6.

Despite the general trend towards greater international exchange of AnGR, a few developed countries report that in some sectors they have become more self-sufficient in breeding material. The country report from Ireland, for example, notes that

“a key development in Ireland has been the huge progress in genetic evaluation systems, allowing a halting of the trend in importing North American dairy genetics, and the selection of dairy sires from the Irish Holstein Friesian population.”

Referring to dairy and multipurpose cattle, the country report from Switzerland notes that

“the general tendency observed is that breeders and companies tend to export more material and import less material from foreign countries. Several breeders associations reported that, in comparison with 10 years ago, they rely more on the national gene pool for management of their breeds and breed improvement. For example, the population of Braunvieh cows has increased significantly during the last decades. As a consequence, breeders rely much more on indigenous material, whereas in the past there has been an important influence of US genetic material.”

2.2South–South gene flows

As shown in Figure 1C3, UN-Comtrade figures indicate that the share of South–South trade in global exchanges of AnGR remains low. Figures fluctuate considerably from year to year. In 2012, the share of South–South exchanges (as represented by exchanges among non-OECD countries) in the total value of trade in live pure-bred bovines reached 13 percent. However, figures for the preceding seven years remained in the 5 to 8 percent range. The share of South–South exchanges in global trade in bovine semen reached almost 6 percent in 2008,8 but is usually below 2 percent. Similarly, figures for live breeding pigs reached about 8 percent in 2008, but normally lie in the 2 to 5 percent range. Given the overall increase in the volume of international trade in these categories (Figure 1C1), the volume of South–South trade is probably increasing in absolute terms. It should also be recalled that official figures may represent underestimations of South–South gene flows. It has been estimated, for example, that informal cross-border trade may account for 80 to 90 percent of the total exports of live animals9 from Ethiopia to Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan (USAID, 2013).

A substantial proportion of country reports from all developing regions indicate that the respective country’s gene flows include at least some significant exceptions to the dominant pattern of North–South exchanges (Figure 1C2). The region with the highest proportion of countries providing answers of this type is Africa (65 percent). The most commonly mentioned exception is gene flow between neighbouring countries (i.e. flows roughly at subregional level). A small number of country reports specifically mention a shift away from importing genetic material from the North towards importing from neighbouring countries. The report from Togo, for example, states that “importations of genes from European countries are increasingly rare, while those originating within the region are increasing.” It mentions as an example the fact that the government is seeking to import 4 000 Djallonké (sheep) rams and 1 000 Djallonké (goat) bucks, within the framework of its National Investment Programme for Agriculture and Food Security, to support the development of the country’s small-ruminant sector. The country report from Bhutan notes that, whereas in the past dairy cattle genetic resources were imported in the form of semen from developed countries, they have recently been imported in the form of live animals from neighbouring countries.

More countries report that they import from their neighbours than that they export to them. This probably reflects a degree of concentration of subregional-level export trade. The species most frequently involved in the reported exchanges between neighbouring countries are ruminants. This probably reflects the relative dominance of pig and poultry gene flows by large commercial companies from developed regions. While in most cases the reported subregional-level exchanges involve locally adapted breeds from the respective subregion, some countries mention that they import or export exotic breeds (i.e. whose origins lie outside the subregion) to or from their neighbours.

The gene flows described in Boxes 1C1, 1C2, 1C3, 1C4, 1C5 and 1C6 include examples of gene flows at subregional level in East, West and Southern Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Examples from other parts of the world include buffalo and goat genetic resources flowing from India to Nepal; imports of Black and White cattle into Tajikistan from the Islamic Republic of Iran (newly commenced in 2013); imports of Fayoumi chickens from Egypt into Ethiopia; exports of Jamaica Hope and Jamaica Red Poll cattle from Jamaica to Central American and Caribbean countries and Jamaica Black to Panama; and imports of Barbados Blackbelly sheep from Barbados to Jamaica (information from the country reports of Ethiopia, Nepal, Tajikistan and Jamaica).

A smaller number of country reports from developing countries mention significant longer distance South–South gene flows, i.e. imports from developing countries in different subregions or regions. Some examples are noted in Boxes 1C1, 1C4, 1C5 and 1C6. However, the number of developing countries that have become substantial exporters of genetic material beyond their own subregions is small. Exceptions include South Africa (Box 1C4) and Brazil (Box 1C6). There are also some notable inter-regional South–South gene flows originating in India. As described above (Subsection 1.1), breeds from South Asia have long played a major role in cattle production in Latin America. Gene flows between the two regions were for many years blocked by zoosanitary concerns. However, following agreements reached between Brazil and India, recent years have seen exchanges recommence (Mariante and Raymond, 2010). Another breed from India that has gained popularity in some developing countries in recent years is the dual-purpose Kuroiler chicken (see Box 1C5).

2.3South–North gene flows

As described above (Subsection 2.1), exports from the South account for a very small proportion of recorded international gene flows. Exports from the South to the North are even more limited in scale. Exports from non-OECD to OECD countries account for less than 1 percent of global trade in pig and bovine genetic resources (see Figure 1C3). Even within this, the majority of flows come from non-OECD European countries, such as Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, rather than from the developing regions of the world. As shown in Figures 1C5 and 1C6, even countries such as Brazil and South Africa that have established a presence in international markets for AnGR remain net importers of cattle genetic resources from all their major trade partners in developed regions. Four percent of South Africa’s exports of bovine genetic resources in recent years went to the Southwest Pacific, but a large majority went to other African countries (Box 1C4). Developing regions have accounted for almost all Brazil’s exports of bovine genetic resources in recent years (Box 1C6), although figures from the Brazilian Artificial Insemination Association show that Canada imported 28 916 doses bovine semen from Brazil in 2013, accounting for 16 percent of the total number of doses exported from Brazil (see table in Box 1C6).

Few South–North gene flows are mentioned in the country reports, particularly among the main food-producing livestock species. Where South–North flows are mentioned, they consist largely of relatively specialized resources such as camelids and certain horse breeds. While, as noted above, certain breeds originating from the South have established a presence in extensive grazing systems in the North (e.g. Boran, Africander and Tuli cattle, Boer goats and Dorper sheep), the country reports provide little indication of any major recent South– North gene flows involving breeds in this category. The country report from Switzerland notes that imports of Boer goat genetics from South Africa have almost completely ceased because the gene pool in Switzerland is now sufficient for the reproduction of the breed. Australia’s country report (2012),10 however, mentions recent importations of Boer and Kalahari Red goat genetics, undertaken with the aim of improving the carcass composition, shape and overall quality of existing populations.

3Drivers of gene flow in the twenty-first century

As has been the case for several decades, the growth of North–South gene flows continues to be driven by large differentials in production potential between many Northern and Southern AnGR, and the ongoing spread of production systems that enable the effective use of high-output animals. Similar factors also drive some South–South and North–North exchanges. Individual gene flows are driven by particular requirements associated with the state of demand for livestock products and services, the characteristics of production environments and the exigencies of individual breeding programmes. Patterns of exchange are also influenced by broader economic and political factors such as trade agreements and fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Flows between some countries continue to be inhibited by zoosanitary concerns or by lack of infrastructure and technical capacity in the use of reproductive biotechnologies. In some species, technical problems related to the use of frozen genetic material continue to hamper exchanges.

Where commercial operations with the where-withal to access international markets have emerged, a large proportion of gene flows generally occur via private transactions between suppliers and purchasers (Gollin et al., 2008). Nonetheless, the country reports indicate that in a number of countries, government policies directly or indirectly promote inward gene flows. Reported examples of direct government interventions to support the import of genetic materials include a project implemented by Bangladesh’s Department of Livestock Services in 2009 that involved the importation of Brahman cattle semen from the United States of America for use in producing cross-bred animals (mentioned in Bangladesh’s country report). The Brahman was chosen because of its ability to thrive in harsh environments and its resistance to parasites. The influence of government policies on gene flows into Cameroon is described in Box 1C7. A developed-country example is provided in the country report from the Russian Federation, which notes that between 2006 and 2008 the implementation of the country’s National Priority Project for Development of Agro-Industrial Complex led to the government-supported importation of substantial numbers of high-quality pedigree cattle, sheep and pigs, with the aim of using the genetic potential of these animals to speed up the development of the Russian breeding sector via both pure-breeding and cross-breeding schemes.

Some countries have put policies or legal measures in place that may restrict inward flows of genetic resources. For instance, importation of new exotic breeds into South Africa is only permitted after an impact assessment study has been undertaken. These studies involve assembling information on the candidate breeds’ characteristics (phenotype, usual production environments, management systems, etc.), as well as on their potential impacts on South Africa’s production environments and indigenous breeds; on-site evaluation may be required (Government of South Africa, 2003; Pilling, 2007). Several breeds were reported to be undergoing impact assessments at the time of the preparation of South Africa’s country report: among beef cattle, the Afrigus (a locally developed breed – Afrikaner × Angus), the Afrisim (Afrikaner × Simmental), the Ankole and the Pinzyl (Pinzgauer × Nguni); among dairy cattle, the Swedish Red; among horses, the Standardbred and the French Trotter; and among sheep, the South African Milking Sheep (a local composite breed). Few countries have made breed-level assessments of potential imports compulsory. However, many countries have put legal measures in place to regulate the quality of imported germplasm (see Part 3 Section F).

Imports and exports of AnGR are potentially affected by laws related to access and benefit-sharing. A growing number of countries are enacting legislation in this field (see Part 3 Section F), but practical impacts on the exchange of most types of AnGR appear to have been limited to date. The country report from Peru, however, notes that the export of alpacas and llamas is subject to government quotas, implemented with the aim of avoiding the loss of high-quality breeding animals. The problem of illegal exports of camelids is mentioned in the country reports of both Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Zoosanitary restrictions create major problems for the international exchange of AnGR. They are particularly problematic where there is a significant disparity between the disease statuses of the importing and exporting countries. This tends to disfavour developing-country exporters. However, exports from developed countries are also affected. For instance, the outbreak of Schmallenberg virus in Europe in 2012 led to additional restrictions on bovine germplasm imports from the European Union into the United States of America (APHIS USDA, 2014). A disease outbreak can devastate export trade and affected countries may have problems regaining lost markets. On the importing side, breeders may have difficulty acquiring the genetic material they need. As described above, transfers of cattle genetic resources from South Asia to Latin America have long been problematic. The country reports from Australia and New Zealand note that their strict zoosanitary controls on imports place some restrictions on access to AnGR, particularly in the case of breeding material whose commercial value is low relative to quarantine expenses.

Climate change is sometimes noted as a potential driver of increased gene flows, possibly including increased flows from the South as a result of growing demand for animals that are well-adapted to climatic extremes or climate-related disease challenges (Hiemstra et al., 2006; FAO, 2009). Shifts in species and breed distributions as a result of climate change are already reported to have taken place, on a relatively local scale, in parts of Africa (FAO, 2011). There is, however, little evidence in the country reports that the search for climate-adapted genetic resources has influenced international gene flows to any significant extent or that countries expect this to change in the near future. Many country reports recognize climate change as a driver of change in livestock production systems and in AnGR management (see Part 2). However, where countries note changes, or potential changes, in demand for AnGR, they generally mention growing demand for their own locally adapted breeds rather than demand for climate-adapted imports. The country report from the United States of America states that climate change has not caused any shifts in demand for specific genetic resources and that it is anticipated that within-breed selection will be sufficient to respond to climate change-related challenges. Given growing recognition of the importance of climate-related adaptations, it is possible that concerns about climate change may to some extent dampen demand for the importation of non-adapted breeds into tropical and subtropical countries.

Loss of large numbers of animals as a result of disease outbreaks or other disastrous events can precipitate increased gene flows. The country report from Burundi, for example, notes that in recent years many cattle, particularly Friesian crosses, have been imported from other countries in the subregion as part of restocking efforts. An example of the effects of a disease outbreak is presented in Box 1C8.

4Effects of gene flows

This subsection reviews the effects of gene flows both on the diversity of genetic resources and on livestock productivity.

4.1Impacts on diversity

As noted in the introduction to this section, gene flow can have a number of different effects on the between- and within-breed diversity of livestock populations. The country reports mention a range of different impacts. The most commonly reported effect of gene flows is that they contribute to the erosion of AnGR, often via indiscriminate cross-breeding between imported and locally adapted breeds. 11 Concern about the effect of gene flows on diversity appears to be particularly widespread in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Africa, and to a lesser extent in Europe and the Caucasus and in Asia. The country reports provide little information about how serious this effect is (several mention that the use of imported AnGR is inadequately monitored). However, its significance seems to be underlined by the fact that indiscriminate cross-breeding (not necessarily linked to international gene flows) and replacement by exotic breeds are the two factors most commonly mentioned in the country reports as causes of genetic erosion (see Part 1 Section F).

While large-scale importation of exotic breeds may create challenges for the sustainable management of locally adapted genetic resources, significant negative effects on diversity are not inevitable. Where indiscriminate cross-breeding is concerned, the problem is not with gene flow per se, but with badly managed gene flow. For example, well-planned cross-breeding with exotic animals can be a means of keeping pure-bred locally adapted populations in use. Moreover, even if locally adapted breeds are increasingly being replaced by imported alternatives, various strategies can be adopted to promote their sustainable use, development and conservation (see Part 3 Section D and Part 4 Section D). The country report from Cameroon, for example, notes that while “various cattle, pigs and poultry breeds have been imported, and due to persistent unregulated and uncontrolled cross-breeding targeting high yields there has been a marked increase in genetic dilution and erosion of local indigenous AnGR,” the situation has been slightly improved by compulsory organization of the recipients of imported genetic material into “common initiative groups” and the establishment of specialized cooperatives for the conservation of threatened breeds.

Unfortunately, as discussed in Part 3, capacity to manage AnGR is weak in many countries. In these circumstances, there is a danger that a kind of vicious circle will develop: lack of management capacity leads to a lack of progress in developing locally adapted AnGR; this in turn leads countries to favour the apparently easy solution of importing high-output exotic breeds; the same lack of capacity driving the process then makes it difficult to manage the inward gene flow effectively.

Several country reports note that inward gene flows have contributed to increasing the diversity of national AnGR. In some cases, this has simply been a matter of expanding the range of established breeds available to the country’s livestock keepers and breeders. In others, new breeds have been developed by combining imported genetics with those of locally adapted breeds. Examples mentioned in the country reports include the Méré breed of cattle (Guinea) and the Dapaong pig (Togo). The former, a breed valued for its abilities as a draught animal, was developed by crossing N’Dama cattle with zebu cattle originating from Mali. The latter is a composite developed by crossing Large White and local-breed pigs.

A few country reports from developed countries mention the role of international gene flows in the sustainable management of transboundary breed populations or the introduction of “fresh blood” from related breeds. For example, the report from Austria states that

“gene flow within the region broadens the genetic basis of commercial breeds and increases breeding progress. In traditional breeds with transboundary populations, gene flow occurs between Austria and neighbouring countries, to stabilize and conserve the populations.”

In some circumstances, gene flows out of a country can contribute indirectly to the maintenance of diversity by providing economic incentives to continue raising locally adapted breeds. The country report from Kenya, for example, notes that

“demand for Kenyan animal genetic resources in the African region has led to increased stud registration and to farmers joining breed societies. Exports have encouraged breeding, multiplication and conservation of Kenyan breeds such as Kenyan Boran and Sahiwal cattle.”

The report from Spain mentions that the breeders of locally adapted breeds have recently been targeting the development of export markets. These efforts have involved, inter alia, an agreement between the Ministries of Agriculture of Spain and Brazil regarding a study on the suitability of Spanish Retinta cattle for use in Brazilian production environments, both in pure-bred form and crossed with Brazilian breeds. Related points are made in the reports from Norway and the United Kingdom. The former notes that the export of breeding material is an important source of funding for breeding organizations and helps to cover the costs of running breeding programmes in Norway. The latter mentions that exports help to fund research and development activities that contribute both to the sustainable management of “mainstream” breeds and to the conservation of breeds at risk.

4.2Impacts on livestock productivity

A number of country reports, both from developed and developing regions, note that inward gene flows have contributed to increasing levels of production or productivity in their livestock populations. The circumstances in which these improvements have occurred are not always clear. Some country reports mention that the use of exotic animals has been limited to large-scale systems or that additional management inputs have been required. The report from Mauritius, for example, mentions that only large-scale producers have been able to introduce the improved feeding, health care and housing needed in order to successfully raise exotic cattle. The report from the Plurinational State of Bolivia notes that increased milk output associated with the introduction of exotic and cross-bred cattle has only been achieved by adopting improved management measures and modifying the production environment so as to allow these animals to express their genetic potential. The report from the Philippines states that production based on exotic poultry and pig genetics now involves highly controlled production environments (e.g. the use of tunnel ventilation). It also mentions that the introduction of animals from nontraditional sources (e.g. buffaloes from Brazil and Italy) has been made possible by improvements to the country’s animal health status.

Several country reports mention the challenges involved in introducing exotic breeds, particularly into small-scale or remote production systems. The report from Mali, for example, notes that cross-bred animals with exotic blood have higher demands in terms of feed, health care and housing, and that their management requires new skills and additional resources. Such animals are reported to be restricted to peri-urban zones. Similarly, the report from Eritrea mentions that the management of imported buffaloes has been a problem because of their high susceptibility to tick-borne diseases, particularly heartwater. The report from Botswana notes that farmers who have acquired imported dairy cattle have had to resort to buying supplementary feed, mainly imported from neighbouring countries, in order to supplement the animals’ diets. For further discussion of the role of cross-breeding in low-input systems, see Part 4 Section C.

5Conclusions

International flows have continued to expand over recent years. The rate of growth appears to have increased since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared. The main drivers of gene flow continue to be demand for higher-output animals and ongoing developments in livestock management and reproductive biotechnologies. Exchanges are still dominated by North–North and North–South exchanges, with importers taking advantage of the genetic improvements achieved in the world’s most advanced breeding programmes. The share of global imports accounted for by imports into Southern countries has increased in some sub-sectors. This represents a large increase in gene flows of high-output international transboundary breeds from the North to the South. For many countries, South–South gene flows are also significant. These exchanges often occur between neighbouring countries, but a small number of Southern countries have become suppliers of genetic resources on a wider scale. The country reports provide little indication that interest in importing genetic resources from the South is increasing in Northern countries.

The country reports indicate that many countries are concerned about the effects of international gene flows on the diversity of their livestock populations. Moreover, while international gene flows have contributed to increasing the output of livestock products, the establishment of exotic breeds in new countries and production systems can be problematic in terms of the additional resources and management skills required and the vulnerability of the animals to diseases, feed shortages and so on. Effective management of gene flow and effective use of imported genetics involve all the main elements of AnGR management: characterization of breeds and production environments to ensure that they are well matched; well-planned breeding strategies; monitoring of outcomes in terms of productivity and genetic diversity; and measures to promote the sustainable use and conservation of breeds that may be threatened by the effects of gene flows.

References

APHIS USDA. 2014. Schmallenberg virus information. Website of the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (http://tinyurl.com/n56euwc) (accessed September 2014).

ASBIA. 2013. Website of the Associação Brasileira de Inseminação Artificial (Brazilian Assocation for Artificial Insemination) (http://tinyurl.com/oygpd56) (accessed June 2014).

Country reports. 2014. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e01.htm.

FAO. 2007. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at www.fao.org/3/a-a1250e.pdf).

FAO. 2009. The use and exchange of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture. Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Background Study Paper No. 43. Rome (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/017/ak222e.pdf)

FAO. 2011. Climate change and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture: state of knowledge, risks and opportunities. Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Background Study Paper No. 53. Rome (available at http://tinyurl.com/khdcegu).

Gollin, D., Van Dusen, E. & Blackburn, H. 2008. Animal genetic resource trade flows: Economic assessment. Livestock Science, 120: 248–255.

Government of South Africa. 2003. Guidelines for a biological impact study. Possible introduction of a new breed of farm animal. Department of Agriculture, Pretoria.

Hiemstra, S.J., Drucker, A.G., Tvedt, M.W., Louwaars, N., Oldenbroek, J.K., Awgichew, K., Abegaz Kebede, S., Bhat, P.N. & da Silva Mariante, A. 2006. Exchange use and conservation of animal genetic resources. Policy and regulatory options. Wageningnen, the Netherlands, Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN), Wageningen University and Research Centre (available at http://tinyurl.com/nkltlwf).

Hoffmann, I. 2010. International flows of animal genetic resources – historical perspective, current status and future expectations. Paper presented at the International Technical Expert Workshop: Exploring the Need for Specific Measures for ABS of AnGR, Wageningen, the Netherlands, 7–10 December 2010 (available at http://tinyurl.com/mkra2re).

Mariante, A. da S. & Raymond, A.K. 2010. An overview and analysis of issues and current practices in the international exchange of animal genetic resources. Paper presented at the International Technical Expert Workshop: Exploring the Need for Specific Measures for ABS of AnGR, Wageningen, the Netherlands, 7–10 December 2010 (available at http://tinyurl.com/kn6v2tb).

Perry, G. 2013. 2012 statistics of embryo collection and transfer in domestic farm animal. International Embryo Transfer Society Statistics and Data Retrieval Committee Report. Champaign, IL, USA, International Embryo Transfer Society (available at http://tinyurl.com/oht7u78).

Pilling, D. 2007. Genetic impact assessments – summary of a debate. Animal Genetic Resources Information, 41: 101–107 (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a1206t/a1206t06.pdf).

UN-Comtrade. 2015. United Nations Comtrade Database (available at http://comtrade.un.org) (accessed May 2015).

USAID. 2013. Agricultural Growth Program – Livestock Market Development. End market analysis for meat/live animals, leather and leather products, dairy products value chains. Expanding livestock markets for the small-holder producers. Washington D.C., United States Agency for International Development (available at http://tinyurl.com/lwm7xmz).

1FAO, 2007, Part 1 Section C (pages 51–75).

2The terms “North” and “South” are frequently used when discussing gene flows to refer to developed and developing regions, respectively. This terminology is used below in this section. The categories do not fully correspond to geographical reality. For example, Australia is part of the “North”.

3FAO, 2007, pages 55–70.

4FAO, 2007, pages 73–74.

5For more information about the reporting process, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages of this report.

7It is possible that the trend is distorted upwards by more complete reporting in recent years. However, the completeness of figures from preceding years has also been subject to ongoing improvements.

8This peak is in large part accounted for by exports from Colombia to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which reached US$1 million in 2008.

9These figures include animals for slaughtering, production and breeding.

10This report was prepared in 2012 at the initiative of the Australian Government. The format does not correspond to the questionnaire-based country reports prepared at FAO’s request in 2013/2014.

11Responses to an open-ended question about the effects of gene flows on AnGR and their management.

Section D

Roles, uses and values of animal genetic resources

1Introduction

“In recognition of the essential roles and values of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture, in particular, their contribution to food security for present and future generations; aware of the threats to food security and to the sustainable livelihoods of rural communities posed by the loss and erosion of these resources …”

As these opening words of the Interlaken Declaration on Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007a) suggest, one of the main justifications for international concern about the state of animal genetic resources (AnGR) and their management is the need to ensure that livestock can continue fulfilling the roles that make them so important to the lives and livelihoods of so many people around the world, and that the value embodied in livestock biodiversity is not lost. Understanding these roles and values is fundamental to efforts to sustainably use, develop and conserve AnGR.

The phrases “roles and values” and “uses and values” are commonly used as catch-all terms for the various qualities or factors that make AnGR important. The former features in the Interlaken Declaration and in the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, while the latter was the title of a section of the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007b).1 It is interesting to note that, although the phrases are used more or less interchangeably, they emphasize slightly different aspects of AnGR management, both of which are important. The word “use” draws attention to one of the most important general characteristics of AnGR, the fact that they were developed for use by humans and are subject to ongoing active management by humans in pursuit of specific objectives.2 The fate of an individual breed is closely linked to its use. If it is no longer used, it will become extinct unless a conservation programme is established to maintain it (either as a live population or in cryoconserved form). The word “roles” has slightly broader connotations than “use” in that it implies that the benefits derived from AnGR can include not only those deliberately sought by the immediate users (i.e. the owners or managers of the animals), but also inadvertent benefits. These benefits may accrue to the owners or managers themselves, to a wider public, or to both. Because of their inadvertent nature, ensuring that benefits of this kind are supplied in an optimal manner can be challenging.

The “values” of AnGR are generally considered to extend beyond those associated with their current use (FAO, 2007b).3 Particularly significant – and one of the main reasons why the conservation of AnGR is regarded as important – are so-called option values. This term refers to the value that arises because the continued existence of a resource increases capacity to respond to unpredictable future events. In other words, it is a kind of insurance value. In the case of AnGR, option value arises, for example, because maintaining a wide range of genetic diversity increases the likelihood that the livestock sector will be able to respond effectively to challenges such as the emergence of new diseases or climatic changes. Quantifying the values of AnGR is a complex task that involves the use of a range of economic tools. Recent developments in this field are described in Part 4 Section E. The discussion of values presented here in this section is largely descriptive.

The subsections below describe a range of different roles performed by livestock and the significance of genetic diversity in the fulfilment of each of them. The first addresses direct contributions to food production, livelihoods and economic output. Livestock’s capacity to produce food and other goods and services that can be sold or used at home is generally the main reason why people choose to raise animals and why governments implement policies to support livestock-sector development. The second subsection addresses sociocultural functions. In many societies, livestock play important roles in social and cultural life: religious festivals, agricultural shows, sporting activities and so on. Some events and activities of this kind may provide income-generating opportunities for livestock keepers, but cultural activities are often pursued as ends in themselves. In many cases, benefits accrue not just to the livestock owners, but also to the general public in the local area. The third sub-section addresses the ecological functions of AnGR: their roles in the provision of so-called “regulating” and “habitat” ecosystem services.4 Livestock provide services of this kind via the effects that they have on other elements of the ecosystem as they graze, spread their dung, trample the ground and so on. The services may arise because livestock are deliberately managed so as to produce them or as a by-product of livestock management for other purposes. Benefits often accrue to the public at large rather than just to the owners of the animals that provide the services. A further subsection considers the roles of AnGR in poverty alleviation and livelihood development and their further potential to contribute in these fields.

The importance of AnGR diversity lies not only in underpinning the provision of a wide range of products and services, but also in enabling these services to be provided in a wide range of circumstances. Many harsh production environments, such as those characterized by extreme temperatures, lack of good-quality feed, high elevations, rough terrain or severe disease pressures, can only be utilized effectively by breeds that have particular characteristics that enable them to cope with these challenges. Characteristics of this type are discussed in greater detail in Part 1 Section E.

2Contributions to food production, livelihoods and economic output

The first SoW-AnGR presented an overview of the roles of livestock in the production of goods and services for sale or for home consumption and the role of AnGR diversity in the provision of these outputs. Tables and figures provided quantitative data on the contributions of livestock to national economies (proportion of gross domestic product [GDP] supplied by the livestock sector), to food production and to international trade. These data – drawn from FAO’s FAOSTAT database and from World Bank sources – were available only at species level (or in the case of GDP, for the livestock sector as a whole). In other words, the basic data shed little light on the relative contributions of different breeds (or breed categories)^5^ within species to the various outputs. The data did, however, serve to illustrate the major economic significance of the livestock sector.

2.1Food production and food security

Since 2004 (the year for which data were presented in the first SoW-AnGR), global output of food of animal origin has increased substantially (Table 1D1). Production figures are not disaggregated below species level (i.e. by breed or by breed category). However, the contribution of different categories of breed and the significance of breed diversity in underpinning current production can to some extent be inferred from the way in which production is dispersed across production systems and agroclimatic zones. Figures presented in the first SoW-AnGR indicated that industrial production systems accounted for 67 percent of poultry meat production, 50 percent of egg production, 42 percent of pig meat production, 7 percent of beef production and 1 percent of sheep and goat meat production.6 The remainder of reported production was attributed to grazing and mixed (crop–livestock) production systems. All milk production was attributed to grazing and mixed farming systems. See Part 2 Section B for further information on production-system classifications (Table 2B1) and the contributions of different systems to the output of livestock products at regional level (Figure 2B2).

Because industrial systems provide highly controlled production environments and generally supply markets that demand relatively uniform products, they make use of a narrow range of breeds. These breeds tend to belong to the international transboundary category and in many cases are considered exotic rather than locally adapted to the country in which they are kept (see Part 1 Section B for further information on breed categories). In grazing and mixed systems, production environments – and in some cases production objectives – are more diverse than in industrial systems. The output of these production systems comes from a wider range of breeds, some of which, as noted above, have to be able to survive and produce in very harsh conditions. However, where the climate is temperate and feed and veterinary inputs are available, it is often possible, even in grazing and mixed systems, to make use of high-output breeds that have no particularly specialized adaptive characteristics. Thus, global production figures for mixed and grazing systems cannot be attributed unambiguously to one or other category of breeds. They come in part from a highly diverse range of locally adapted breeds (often largely restricted to their areas of origin) and partly from a more limited range of widely distributed high-output breeds.

Increased production of animal-source foods at global or national levels does not necessarily translate into increased consumption for everyone or into health-maximizing levels of consumption for the majority. On the one hand, there are certain health risks associated with consuming excessive quantities of animal products (WHO/FAO, 2003). On the other, people may remain too poor to increase their consumption levels. Many people continue to suffer from nutritional deficiencies that might be overcome by increasing their intakes of meat, milk or eggs (Randolph et al., 2007; FAO, 2014a).

Understanding the link between livestock production and food security at household or individual level requires an understanding of the role of livestock in the livelihoods of poor people. Two facts point to the significance of this role: the very large proportion of poor people that keep livestock (exact figures are not available, but a figure of 70 percent is often quoted [e.g. FAO, 2009]) and the multiple benefits that many of these people derive from their animals. The most immediate ways in which livestock contribute to the availability of food at household level are via the supply of milk, eggs, meat, etc. for direct consumption and via the supply of products and services that can be sold for cash that can then be used to buy food. For many households in mixed crop–livestock production systems another major contribution to food security comes via the supply of inputs for crop production (draught power and manure – see Subsections 2.3 and 2.4 for further discussion).

Food security depends not only on the amount and quality of food produced, but also on its being available on a continuous basis. For a household, this means the ability to produce, buy or otherwise access food through all the seasons of the year and in the face of whatever problems they may have to contend with (droughts, floods, outbreaks of crop and animal diseases, unemployment, accidents, human sickness and so on). As discussed in more detail below (Subsection 2.5), for many poor households, a flock or herd of animals serves as a form of “insurance” that can be drawn upon when problems of this kind arise. In some communities, livestock-related cultural activities, as well as gifts and loans of livestock, help to build and maintain social ties that people can draw upon in times of trouble.

The most important contribution of AnGR diversity to current7 food production and food security – both at household and national level – probably lies in its role in enabling livestock to be raised in a wide range of production environments and in enabling production systems to better withstand shocks such as droughts and disease outbreaks. However, it also contributes to the production of more nutritionally diverse food products. This diversity is mainly at species level. However, breed-level differences do exist and have begun to attract some research attention in recent years. The FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Database for Biodiversity (FAO/INFOODS, 2012), for example, includes some data on the nutritional composition of products from different cattle breeds. Breed-level nutritional differences are discussed in greater detail in Part 1 Section G.

2.2Fibres, hides and skins

In terms of the value of sales and international trade, the most important non-food livestock products are fibres, hides and skins. The first SoW-AnGR included information on production levels for a range of skin and fibre products.8 It also highlighted some examples, drawn from the country reports, of specific breeds whose distinct characteristics make them especially significant for fibre, hide or skin production. Since 2004 (the year for which data were presented in the first SoW-AnGR), total global wool production has continued its decline from a peak reached in the early 1990s. Global wool production in 2012 was almost 5 percent lower than in 2004 (FAOSTAT). However, some major woolproducing countries, such as China, Morocco, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, have increased their production levels over this period. In other countries, overall declines in wool production have been accompanied by increases in the production of fine, ultrafine and superfine wool (Montossi et al., 2013). Demand for finer wool leads to shifts in the use of sheep genetic resources, i.e. changes in breed choice or in breeding goals (ibid.). Recent developments in genetic improvement programmes in the sheep sector are discussed in Part 4 Section C. Over the 2004 to 2012 period, world production of hides and skins from buffaloes, cattle and goats increased, but production of sheep skins fell (FAOSTAT). The figures roughly reflect population trends in these species.

2.3Transport and agricultural draught power

In many parts of the world, animals play important roles in transport and as providers of draught power in agriculture. The first SoW-AnGR provided an overview of the significance of draught animal power in agriculture and transport, based largely on the material provided in the country reports. It was clear that animal power from a wide range of species (cattle, buffaloes, horses, donkeys, dromedaries, Bactrian camels, alpacas, llamas, yaks, reindeer and dogs – even to some extent sheep and goats) remained important in many countries, and that a range of specialized and multipurpose breeds were involved in the provision of these services. Figures quoted from an earlier FAO report (FAO, 2003) indicated a projected decline in the proportion of land cultivated using animals in most regions of the world during the period between 1999 and 2030, but an increase in sub-Saharan Africa.9

A more recent study prepared for FAO (Starkey, 2010) provides a systematic region-by-region analysis of the role of animal power and a discussion of factors affecting trends in its use. Overall, the study shows that the use of animal power is declining as mechanized power becomes more widely available and more affordable. However, the increasing use of draught animals in sub-Saharan Africa is again noted. In other developing regions, the use of animals for agricultural power and transport remains persistent wherever it continues to be profitable and socially acceptable and alternatives remain inaccessible or unaffordable (ibid.). This often continues to be the case for poorer sections of the population and in geographically remote areas even in countries where industrial development is relatively advanced. Trends vary markedly from country to country, with upward trends in the use of some species in some countries (e.g. the use of donkeys in parts of Central Asia) and rapid declines elsewhere (e.g. the use of donkeys in Turkey and some countries of the Near East).10

One interesting development in the relatively recent past was the decision taken by Cuba to promote the use of animal power in agriculture in response to the fuel shortages faced by the country following the breakup of the “soviet bloc” in the early 1990s (ibid.). This has involved the use of animal and mechanized power in a complementary manner, with oxen being used particularly for weeding – and valued for their capacity to work in wetter conditions (Henriksson and Lindholm, 2000). These developments, along with the country’s more general need to shift towards an agriculture that was less dependent on the use of external inputs, required changes in the use of AnGR, with an increase in the use of animals that were well adapted to local conditions (Government of Cuba, 2003).

Reliability in the face of uncertain access to (or affordability of) fuel and mechanical spare parts is one of the major advantages of animal power. However, animals are vulnerable to threats such as theft, diseases and feed shortages. Locally adapted breeds are often preferred because of their greater capacity to survive in local conditions (Starkey, 2010). These factors also affect the choice of species. One trend reported to have been occurring in parts of the world in relatively recent years is an increase in the use of draught donkeys – reasons include their comparatively low cost, ease of management, resistance to drought and the fact that they are less prone to being stolen (New Agriculturist, 2003). An increase in the use of cows or female buffaloes rather than castrated males has also been noted (ibid.).

Replacement of animal power by mechanized power is widely recognized as a potential threat to AnGR diversity. Many country reports,11 from all regions except North America, note that the use of animal power is in decline as a result of replacement by mechanized power.12 The strength of the trend varies from country to country. For example, the report from Lesotho notes that stock theft is leading to draught animal power being rapidly replaced by machinery. Conversely, the report from Bhutan notes that although farm mechanization is underway, the country’s steep terrains mean that AnGR and their management have been affected only minimally and that future effects are also expected to be minor. The report from the Philippines states that “because of the increasing cost of oil, many farmers still rely on large animals for draught.” The precise extent of the threat is difficult to estimate. Stakeholders responding to a global survey on threats to AnGR (FAO, 2009) provided information on 87 equine breeds and 212 cattle breeds. Among these, “replacement of breed functions” was ranked as the top threat in 32 equine breeds and 10 cattle breeds.13 Relatively few country reports (7 out of 93 that include responses to the relevant question) specifically list mechanization as a major cause of genetic erosion,14 although the figure is higher in the case of Asian countries (4 out of 17) (see Table 1F2 in Part 1 Section F).

Evidence from highly developed regions such as western Europe suggests that when breeds lose their roles as providers of transport or agricultural power, their populations often plummets towards zero. National donkey populations provide an indicator of this effect, as donkeys are rarely kept in large numbers for other purposes. To take one example, the donkey population of Italy fell by more than 50 percent between 1938 and 1968, and by 2008 had declined by 97 percent relative to the population at the time of the Second World War (Starkey, 2010). This decline is reflected in the risk status of Italy’s donkey breeds, all of which, according to the figures available in the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS)^15^ at the time of writing, are classified as being at risk of extinction (13 breeds) or already extinct (3 breeds).

One factor that often speeds the decline of animal power (or slows its growth) is the perception that it is an old-fashioned technology whose time has passed. This perception is common both among potential users (farmers, etc.) and among development workers and policy-makers. At times, this leads to unprofitable decisions to invest in mechanized power and to the absence of support services for draught animals (Starkey, 2010). As well as leading to missed opportunities in the short term, these attitudes are not helpful to the long-term conservation and development of AnGR in breeds and species used as sources of power.

Working animals are often ignored in national agricultural and rural-transport strategies and policies, and this means that they are often not targeted by animal health interventions, research programmes, extension activities and so on (FAO, 2014b). Their significance to people’s livelihoods often remains unrecognized. Donkeys, for example – a species that tends to be particularly overlooked – provide vital services to many poor households, and to women in particular, by reducing the drudgery of domestic tasks such as transporting water and firewood and by providing a source of income (Valette, 2014). Gaps in knowledge on the livelihood roles of working animals and the extent of their economic contributions need to be addressed in order to enable the design of appropriate support measures and to help raise awareness at policy level (FAO, 2014b; Valette, 2014).

2.4Manure and fuel

Apart from draught power, the other main animal-derived agricultural input discussed in the first SoW-AnGR was manure. Several examples from the country reports illustrated the continued (and in some situations increasing) importance of livestock as a source of manure for use in agriculture. For small-scale farmers in mixed crop–livestock production systems, securing a supply of manure can be among the most important reasons for keeping animals. For example, a study conducted by Ejlertsen et al. (2013) in the Gambia, indicated that among mixed farmers with fewer than ten cattle, manure supply ranked as the second most important reason for keeping cows and third for keeping bulls. Among farmers with larger herds, manure supply was reported to be the most important livestock function (ibid.).

The capacity of livestock to serve as providers of manure is normally considered at the species level rather than in terms of within-species diversity. However, breeds that struggle to survive in the local production environment or – in the case of free-grazing animals – to range over the ground where the manure needs to be spread, are unlikely to be the best providers of this service. One study that did compare the level of manure provision from two different breeds (strictly speaking, one breed and one interspecies cross) compared the amount of organic matter introduced into fish ponds by Pekin ducks and mule ducks – and found that the former provided significantly more (Nikolova, 2012). The difference arose because of the faster growing rate of the Pekin ducks and because they spent more time in the water (ibid.).

The other main use made of livestock dung is as a source of fuel, either in the form of dried dung cakes or via the production of biogas. This role, along with minor uses such as burning dung to ward off insects and the use of dung as a building material, was noted in the first SoW-AnGR. These functions were mentioned in a small number of country reports, but there was no indication that they had any significant effect on the management of AnGR aside from adding some degree of extra incentive to keep livestock and hence to keep the respective breeds in use.

The use of dung for fuel has downsides in some circumstances. It can use up dung that would otherwise help to keep soils fertile, and burning dried dung in poorly ventilated homes can cause serious human health problems (IEA, 2006). On the positive side, in production systems where manure management is a challenge in itself (this is particularly the case in so-called landless systems) the use of manure as a source of energy is increasingly being regarded as an attractive option.

2.5Savings and insurance

Another function highlighted in the first SoW-AnGR was livestock’s role in the provision of savings and insurance services, a function particularly important in areas where livestock keepers do not have access to conventional financial services. Where savings are concerned, a herd or flock of animals can serve as a kind of “bank” in which spare resources (cash or physical inputs such as feed) can be invested. Animals can then be sold from time to time to meet household expenses. Alternatively, the herd or flock may be built up with the aim of meeting some larger expense. As noted above, livestock can also serve as a form of “insurance”, in the sense that if some kind of costly misfortune (sickness, a period of unemployment, crop failure, etc.) strikes the livestock owner, animals can be sold to mobilize resources to deal with the problem. For small-scale livestock keepers in developing countries these functions can be among the most important reasons for keeping livestock. For example, the above-mentioned study in the Gambia found that among poorer livestock keepers (those having fewer than ten cattle), savings and insurance was ranked as the most important reason for keeping cattle, goats and sheep (Ejlertson et al., 2013).

In principle, any kind of animal can provide savings and insurance services. When the time comes to sell, an animal that commands a higher price will obviously be preferable. However, from the perspective of risk management, keeping animals that have a good chance of surviving in the local production environment will be important. Likewise, from the perspective of accumulation, keeping animals that can reproduce well in the local production environment and can make use of low-quality (and low-cost) local feed resources will have advantages.

A few country reports (e.g. Guinea-Bissau and Mali), in response to a general question about changes in livestock functions, note that livestock’s savings and insurance functions are in decline. Other reports, however, specifically note that these functions remain important (e.g. Swaziland, Tajikistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe).

3Sociocultural roles

The country reports prepared for the first SoW-AnGR clearly indicated that livestock – and often specific breeds – play important roles in many cultural activities at both household and community levels and that in many countries native breeds and species are regarded as important elements of national heritage.

The country report questionnaire for the second SoW-AnGR did not directly ask countries to provide information on the significance of the cultural roles of their AnGR. However, as part of the assessment of the effects of livestock sector trends, countries were asked to provide comments on the effects that changes in the cultural roles of livestock are having on AnGR and their management and to provide scores for the significance of these effects over the preceding ten years and for the forthcoming ten years (see Part 2). The textual answers can be roughly grouped into four categories: no clear indication of trends (61 percent); indication that cultural significance is remaining at approximately the same level (20 percent); indication of increasing cultural significance (8 percent); and indication that cultural significance is decreasing (11 percent). These figures are clearly only very approximate indicators of trends. However, it is interesting to note that all the countries mentioning downward trends are developing countries, while eight out of the ten countries reporting upward trends are developed countries.

Where downward trends are described, the reason in most cases is reported to be a decline in traditional cultural roles. For example, Togo’s country report mentions that a decline in traditional beliefs has led to a loss of interest in maintaining culturally significant livestock breeds, particularly breeds of chicken. Similarly, the report from Bhutan notes that the rearing of animals for use as sacrifices or offerings is dying away. In the case of Guinea-Bissau, economic reasons are reported to have led to a decline in the practice of slaughtering large numbers of animals at funeral ceremonies. The report from Ethiopia notes that

“there is a change in the role of livestock in the pastoral area. Livestock used to serve as compensation in … [the] cultural settlement of disputes, but there is an increasing tendency to use the legal system. … ©ash payments are replacing other cultural roles of livestock.”

The report from Uganda notes a link between changing cultural practices and the spread of exotic cattle:

“in … [some] parts of the country, cultural aspects of livestock have not changed at all, while in other parts the changes are marked, especially in areas where exotic [breeds] are kept. For example, in Central Uganda, cattle are no longer being used as bride-price, whereas in the western and the north eastern parts of the country, this practice goes on.”

Despite these various indications of decline, it should be noted that among country reports from developing countries comments of this type are outnumbered by clear statements that significant cultural roles are being maintained. It should also be noted that the decline of a cultural role does not necessarily lead to a negative effect on AnGR diversity and that an increasing role does not necessarily have a positive effect. The country report from Ethiopia, for example, states that the reported changes have had “no significant effect on the livestock genetic resources and … [are] unlikely to have sizeable effect in the foreseeable future”. The country report from Samoa notes that an increase in the use of cattle to meet cultural and social obligations has led to a decline in the number of animals available for breeding purposes.

The reported increases in cultural roles in developed countries appear to relate mostly to a growing interest in the history and traditions of rural areas. The country report from Slovenia, for example, notes that “traditional events from the past (livestock exhibitions, festivals …) are becoming more attractive to the wider public.” There is also some indication of increasing interest in the use of animals for therapeutic and educational purposes (mentioned in the country reports of Italy and Japan).

4Ecological roles – the provision of regulating and habitat ecosystem services

The first SoW-AnGR noted the many ways in which livestock contribute to the functioning of the ecosystems within which they are kept. Information on these roles was, however, limited – particularly with respect to possible breed-level differences in capacity to provide services. The report, however, noted that the provision of ecosystem services in harsh production environments, such as mountains and arid rangelands, requires animals that can thrive in local conditions, and that therefore the role of locally adapted breeds was likely to be important. It also noted the possible significance of between-breed differences in grazing and browsing habits.

Interest in the links between AnGR management and the provision of ecosystem services has increased in recent years. For example, in 2013, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture requested FAO to work on the identification of ecosystem services provided by different livestock species and breeds (FAO, 2013). This led, inter alia, to the organization of two questionnaire surveys (one targeting Europe and the other global) on the roles of livestock in the provision of ecosystem services in grassland ecosystems. The findings of these surveys, along with an extensive literature review, are presented in a background study paper (FAO, 2014c) prepared as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process.

Ecosystem services can be grouped into the following categories: provisioning; regulating; habitat; and cultural (see Box 1D1). Provisioning and cultural services are discussed above and were addressed at greater length in the first SoW-AnGR. Where provisioning services are concerned, the above-mentioned background study paper emphasises livestock’s capacity to convert feed sources that are not edible to humans into meat, milk and eggs. This occurs, for example, when livestock graze areas that cannot be used for crop production, when they eat crop residues such as straw, when they eat the by-products of food processing and when they eat waste food products that are no longer edible to humans. These examples can be contrasted with cases in which animals are fed on feeds such as grains that could otherwise be used directly by humans.

While the most obvious consequence of the use of human-inedible material by animals may (other things being equal) be an increase in the food supply, in some circumstances, the removal of unwanted plant material can constitute a service in itself. In grazing systems, the benefits concerned may relate to the removal of plant material that creates a fire hazard or to the control of invasive species (see further discussion below). In mixed systems, livestock may be used to control weeds (e.g. on fallow land) or in the management of crop residues (e.g. Hatfield et al., 2011). The country report from Malaysia, for example, notes that beef cattle are raised on oil-palm estates and that their grazing and dunging reduces the need for the use of herbicides and fertilizers.

In addition to removing unwanted plant material, livestock can sometimes also play a role in the control of agricultural pests and disease vectors. Poultry, for example, can contribute to the control of ticks (Dreyer et al., 1997; Duffy et al., 1992). Hatfield et al. (2011) show the potential for using grazing sheep to control wheat stem sawfly infestations in cereal production systems in the United States of America. In China, rice–duck farming (a traditional local system) has been reintroduced in recent years, particularly in organic production, because of the benefits the ducks provide in terms of pest control (Teo, 2001; Zhang et al., 2009).

The significance of livestock manure in crop production is noted above (Subsection 2.4). However, dunging also affects the health of grassland soils, which in turn is fundamental not only to the productivity of grazing systems, but also to their roles in carbon sequestration and water cycling. Outcomes depend on the particular characteristics of the ecosystem and on the type of grazing management practised. The effects of dunging have to be considered alongside the effects of grazing and trampling. Many rangelands have suffered soil compaction and erosion as a result of badly managed livestock grazing. However, appropriately managed grazing can in some circumstances contribute to improving soil health (Peco et al., 2006; Aboud et al., 2012).

In many countries, grazing livestock play a significant role in the creation and maintenance of fire breaks and hence in reducing the spread of wildfires (Huntsinger, 2012; Garcia et al., 2013). They can also contribute to reducing the risk of avalanches (Fabre et al., 2010). In addition to disaster-risk reduction, there are a number of different circumstances in which preventing the spread of particular types of vegetation may be desirable, for example in preventing the loss of wildlife habitats or particular landscape features valued for their aesthetic characteristics or for recreational use.

The use of livestock specifically for the purpose of creating or maintaining wildlife habitats has become widespread in a number of European countries (FAO, 2014c). There are also a number of examples in North America (Schohr, 2009). The main mechanisms involved are selective grazing, nutrient redistribution, treading and seed distribution (Wrage et al., 2011). While the use of livestock specifically to provide wildlife habitats is rare in the developing regions of the world, the significance of livestock has sometimes been illustrated by the unexpected and undesirable consequences of their removal from particular ecosystems. For example, in Keoladeo National Park, India, a ban on grazing by buffaloes led to uncontrolled growth of a water weed, which in turn prevented Siberian cranes, a critically endangered species, from accessing plants tubers, their main food source. This led to a dramatic decrease in the numbers of cranes in the park (Pirot et al., 2000).

Studies of the provision of regulating and habitat ecosystem services by livestock have mostly focused on species-level effects, i.e. have not sought to determine whether there are any breed-level differences in capacity to provide these services (FAO, 2014c). Given that many ecosystem services are provided in production environments that are, in one way or another, harsh (mountains, arid grasslands, etc.), it can be assumed that in some cases, only locally adapted breeds can deliver the services effectively. However, there may be a number of different breeds that are able to do so, including those from outside the local area or even from other countries. This is demonstrated, for example, by the widespread use of Polish Konik horses and Scottish Highland cattle for conservation grazing outside their countries of origin. One documented case in which a breed’s specific adaptive characteristics enable it to provide ecosystem services where other breeds would fail to do so is that of the Chilika buffalo, whose grazing and dunging play a vital role in maintaining the ecosystem of Chilika Lake in eastern India as a wildlife habitat and a fishing ground (Patro et al., 2003; Dash et al., 2010). Evidence that breed-level differences in feeding habits affect the provision of ecosystem services is limited. However, there are some cases where specific breeds are reported to be more effective than others at removing specific weeds or invasive plants (see Box 1D3 for example). There may also be other circumstances in which the use of particular breeds is important – for instance, where only lightweight breeds can be used because heavier animals would damage fragile soils (see Box 1D4 for example).

5Roles in poverty alleviation and livelihood development

The first SoW-AnGR recognized the widespread importance of livestock in the livelihoods of poor people, noting in particular the role of genetic diversity in underpinning the multiple services provided by livestock to many poor households and the adaptations that enable animals to thrive in harsh environments and low external input production systems. These observations appear still to be valid (see Subsection 2).

FAO’s 2009 report on The State of Food and Agriculture, which focused on the livestock sector, noted opportunities for poverty reduction presented by the rapid growth of the livestock sector had been missed because of various institutional and policy failures. The report classified poor or small-scale livestock keepers into three groups:

1. those that have the potential to compete as commercial producers;

2. those for whom livestock continue to play an important role as a livelihood “safety net”; and

3. those who are in the process of moving out of the livestock sector.

It advocated policies and interventions to support all three groups.

Livelihood strategies with different objectives and that involve keeping animals in different production environments are likely to require different types of AnGR and any interventions aiming to support small-scale livestock keepers or pastoralists need to take this into account. While the tendency to assume that the appropriate objective in all circumstances is to introduce “improved” exotic AnGR remains prevalent, awareness of the significance of adaptedness to local conditions is probably increasing, perhaps driven in part by growing concerns about climate change (FAO, 2011; HPLE, 2012). Breeding strategies and programmes, including those targeting low-input production systems, are discussed in greater detail in Part 3 Section C and Part 4 Section C.

Another feature of AnGR diversity that has attracted increasing attention in recent years is its potential as a basis for the development of niche-market products. The role of niche marketing in the conservation and sustainable use of at-risk breeds is discussed in Part 4 Section D. However, it clearly also has potential implications for livestock keepers’ livelihoods. Niche markets normally emerge in more affluent countries, and targeting them effectively normally requires a relatively high level of organization among producers, a reliable marketing chain, well-organized marketing campaigns and, for some types of product, an effective legal framework. Their significance in developing countries has therefore been limited. Marketing many livestock products involves particular problems because of their perishable nature and in many cases because of zoosanitary restrictions on their export to developed countries. Despite these constraints, a few examples of successful niche-market development involving small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists keeping locally adapted breeds have been documented. Several are reported in the publication Adding value to livestock diversity – marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods (LPP et al., 2010). In addition to initiatives of this kind that target markets more or less external to the local area, it is quite common for local consumers to have long-standing preferences for food products supplied by the traditional breeds of the local area and to be willing to pay a premium price for these products. Where this is the case, the breeds in question provide their keepers with relatively high-value products to sell (in addition to contributing to the local culinary culture).

The country reports prepared for the first SoW-AnGR included several references to the role of particular species and breeds of livestock in the livelihoods of women livestock keepers. The role of women as guardians of AnGR and the role of locally adapted breeds in women’s livelihoods was addressed in more detail in the FAO publication Invisible guardians – women manage livestock diversity (FAO, 2012). From the livelihoods perspective, two main characteristics of locally adapted breeds are highlighted as being particularly relevant to women livestock keepers. First, locally adapted breeds tend to be easier to care for than exotic breeds. Keeping these breeds can therefore more easily be combined with household and child-rearing tasks. Second, locally adapted breeds are normally better able than exotic breeds to access and utilize common property resources (because of their ability to negotiate the local terrain and make use of local feeds). This capacity tends to be particularly important for women because of the major gender inequalities that exist in terms of land ownership and hence women’s greater reliance on common grazing land.

6Conclusions and research priorities

The first SoW-AnGR concluded that while various livestock functions are gradually being replaced by alternative sources of provision, the use of livestock remained very diverse. It also noted that knowledge of these roles is often inadequate and that this hampers the development of appropriate management strategies. These conclusions remain relevant. Trends in the use of livestock products and services were not investigated in detail as part of the country-reporting process for the second SoW-AnGR. However, many country reports indicate that changes are taking place. The most frequently mentioned change of this type is a decline in the use of animal power in agriculture and transport. This implies the need to monitor trends in the population sizes of breeds used for these purposes.

As far as knowledge gaps are concerned, an important priority is to improve our understanding of the roles of particular livestock species and breeds in the livelihoods of poor people, taking into account not only the various tangible products and services that they provide, but also their roles in risk management and the level of inputs – including the time and labour of household members – needed to raise them. Knowledge of breeds’ relative capacities to produce in specified production environments needs to be strengthened. Better recording of breeds’ home production environments (see Part 4 Section A) would contribute to this, as would better monitoring of the performance of exotic breeds in typical production environments in importing countries. Improving knowledge of livestock’s impacts, both positive and negative, on the functioning of the ecosystems in which they are kept – carbon sequestration, regulation of water cycling, maintenance of soil fertility, provision of wildlife habitats, etc. – is another priority.

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1FAO, 2007b Part 1, Section D (pages 77–100).

2Feral populations and wild relatives of domestic species are exceptions, but are potentially of use in agriculture and food production.

3See, in particular, Box 93 (page 430) and Subsection 2 of Part 4 Section F (pages 442–448) of the first SoW-AnGR.

4“Provisioning” and “cultural” ecosystem services are discussed in the various other subsections.

5For example “locally adapted” or “exotic” breeds.

6FAO, 2007b, pages 156–157. The figures, calculated in 2004 based on averages for the 2001 to 2003 period, were taken from an unpublished report (FAO, 2004). Updated figures are not available.

7As far as future food security is concerned, it provides the raw material for genetic improvement to increase productivity or otherwise develop the characteristics of livestock populations to meet whatever demands and challenges may arise.

8FAO, 2007b, Table 28 (page 87) (annual totals per region based on FAOSTAT figures for 2004).

9FAO, 2007b, Table 29 (page 88).

10Starkey cites donkey population figures from FAOSTAT, noting that donkeys are seldom maintained if they are not used.

11For more information on the reporting process, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages of this report.

12In response to a general question about changing breed functions.

13Answers were chosen from a list of options. In both equines and cattle, the most frequently mentioned category of threat was “economic and market-driven threats”.

14This was an open-ended question. Countries were not specifically asked whether mechanization is a threat.

Section E

Animal genetic resources and adaptation

1Introduction

The first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first Sow-AnGR) (FAO, 2007) included a discussion of genetic resistance to, and tolerance of, diseases and parasites and the potential role of genetic diversity in disease control strategies.1 This section updates the discussion presented in the first report, but also considers a broader range of adaptations important to the survival and productivity of animals in various production environments. The section is structured as follows: Subsection 2 summarizes the information on breed-specific (non-disease related) adaptations, recorded in the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS);2 Subsection 3 provides a discussion of non-disease related adaptations, based on the scientific literature; Subsection 4 provides an updated discussion of disease resistance and tolerance; and Subsection 5 presents some conclusions and research priorities.

2Global information on adaptations

As described in Part 1 Section B, in the early 1990s FAO began to build up the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, which now forms the backbone of DAD-IS. Along with data on population sizes, morphology, etc., DAD-IS allows countries to enter textual descriptions of their breeds’ particular adaptations. To date, information of this kind has been provided only for a small number of the recorded breeds. This subsection provides an overview of the information on adaptations recorded in DAD-IS as of June 2014.

2.1Adaptations at species and breed level

Bovines

A total of 139 breeds of buffalo are recorded in DAD-IS. Descriptions of their adaptations generally focus on their hardiness and adaptedness to high temperatures. The Anadolu Mandası of Turkey is known for its strong herd and maternal instincts and for protecting all the calves in the herd. The Chilika buffalo of India is known for its adaptedness to saline conditions.

Yaks have only a limited area of distribution – extending from the southern slopes of the Himalayas in the south to the Altai in the north and from the Pamir in the west to the Minshan Mountains in the east. They are found in cold, subhumid alpine and subalpine zones at elevations between 2 000 and 5 000 metres. In addition to its adaptedness to high elevations and cold climate, the species is recognized for its docility and hardiness. However, the records in DAD-IS provide little information about the specific adaptive characteristics of individual yak breeds.

Cattle have spread throughout the world and are found in almost all climatic zones, but not at high elevations. The most commonly reported breed-specific adaptations in this species are hardiness and adaptedness to heat and mountainous terrain (see Table 1E1).

Small ruminants

From a total of 681 reported goat breeds, 62 are reported to display adaptations to mountainous terrain. In general, this includes jumping ability, flexible hooves and tolerance of poor nutrition. In addition, 30 goat breeds were reported to be heat tolerant, 7 tolerant of humidity, 14 cold tolerant, 11 adapted to extreme diets, 20 adapted to water scarcity and 20 adapted to dry environments.

Like goats, sheep are frequently well adapted to harsh environments (see Table 1E2). However, the only two sheep breeds recorded in DAD-IS as being well adapted to humid environments are the Djallonké of Guinea and the Xinjiang Finewool of China.

Camelids

The alpaca and the llama inhabit Andean rangelands at elevations of up to 5 000 metres above sea level. They thrive in a wide range of climates and on very poor pastures. Worldwide, eight breeds of alpaca and six breeds of llama are recorded in DAD-IS (see Part 1, Section B Figure 1B6). No particular differences in adaptedness between these breeds are reported. Bactrian camels are described as hardy, tolerant to heat, dry environments and water scarcity. All 14 reported breeds are described as being well adapted to desert conditions, extreme temperature ranges and shortages of water and food. They have the ability to rapidly gain and store large amounts of fat. Dromedaries are reported from a wide geographical area, ranging from the Atlas Mountains of northwestern Africa to the Australian outback. The majority of reported adaptations relate to tolerance of water scarcity or dry environments or to general hardiness. It is reported that the Rendille camel breed of Kenya can be kept for up to 14 days without water. The Chameau du Kanem and Gorane breeds of Chad are reported to be adapted to consumption of salt water.

Equines

Equines are found in all climatic zones. Special adaptations are documented only for a relatively small number of the 174 reported ass breeds and the 905 reported horse breeds (see Table 1E3). Horses are mostly described as being hardy and well adapted to mountainous terrain. A very few breeds (e.g. the Sunico Pony of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and the Tibetan horse) are reported to be adapted to high elevations.

Pigs

Of the 709 pig breeds reported worldwide, 63 breeds are described as being especially hardy. Special adaptedness to heat is reported for 27 breeds, to extreme diets for 11 breeds, to cold for 6 breeds and to dry environments for 7 breeds. China reports four pigs breeds adapted to a cold climate, the Bamei, Harbin White, Sanjiang White and Min. By developing layers of fat and growing thick hair during the winter, they are able to thrive in cold environments. However, this slows their growth rate in comparison to other breeds.

Chickens

Chicken breeds are kept in all geographic regions. The most commonly reported adaptations are hardiness and heat tolerance. Switzerland reports that the Appenzeller Barthuhn, with its characteristic beard and small rose comb, is resistant to cold. A wide spectrum of behavioural traits are reported. Some breeds are known for their docility and others for their fighting ability.

3Adaptation to non-disease stressors

3.1Introduction

One of the key features of animal genetic diversity is that it enables livestock to be kept in a wide range of production environments. As a result of natural selection, livestock populations tend, over time, to acquire characteristics that facilitate their survival and reproduction in their respective production environments. In other words, they become adapted to local conditions. Because livestock are domesticated animals that are managed by humans, the process of adaptation is complicated by, inter alia, the effects of artificial selection, management interventions that alter production environments and the movement of animals or germplasm from one production environment to another. Capacity to isolate animals from the stressors present in the local environment – extremes of temperature, feed shortages, diseases, etc. – has increased over the years, but the conditions in which animals are raised continue to be very diverse. Particularly in small-holder and pastoralist systems, animals often face harsh production conditions and have to rely on their adaptive characteristics.

3.2Adaptation to available feed resources

Animals that are well adapted to coping with periods of feed scarcity may have one or more of the following characteristics: low metabolic requirements; the ability to reduce their metabolism; digestive efficiency that enables them to utilize high-fibre feed; and the ability to deposit a reserve of nutrients in the form of fat.

Having low metabolic requirements helps an animal to survive if feed is in short supply or is of poor quality. One breed that has been found to show this characteristic is the Black Bedouin goat, a small desert breed native to the Near East (Silanikove, 1986a; 2000). The energy requirement of a mammal is normally considered to be a function of its body mass raised to the power of 0.75. This implies that energy requirement per kilogram of body tissue is greater in small mammals than in larger ones and that smaller animals will have to compensate for this by eating more and/or higher-quality feed. Thus, in theory, the total energy requirements of five 20 kg Black Bedouin goats total metabolic weight = 20 kg^0.75^ × 5 = 47.3 kg) should be considerably higher than that of a single large European goat weighing 100 kg (metabolic weight = 100 kg^0.75^ = 31.6 kg). In fact the total requirements are similar (Silanikove, 2000).

Some mammals are able to maintain steady body weights even if their energy intakes are below voluntary intake levels. This may be due to an ability to reduce metabolism. For example, Silanikove (2000) compared the abilities of non-desert Saanen goats and Bedouin goats fed on high-quality roughages to maintain steady body weights when their consumption was restricted. The Saanen goats were able to cope with a 20 to 30 percent reduction relative to their voluntary intakes. The Bedouin goats tolerated a 50 to 55 percent reduction. The Bedouin animals had a 53 percent lower fasting heat production under feed restriction. Other herbivores that are annually exposed to long periods of severe nutritional restriction in their native habitats (e.g. zebu cattle and llamas) also possess a similar capacity to adjust to low energy intake by reducing their energy metabolism (ibid.).

Ruminants are known for their ability to utilize high-fibre feed. Goats can digest high-fibre low-quality forages more efficiently than other ruminants; one of the main reasons for this is a longer mean retention time of feed in the rumen (Devendra, 1990; Tisserand et al., 1991). Goat breeds indigenous to semi-arid and arid areas are able to utilize low-quality high-fibre feed more efficiently than other goats (Silanikove et al., 1993). For example, the digestive efficiency of Black Bedouin goats fed on roughage diets has been shown to be superior to that of Swiss Saanen goats (Silanikove et al., 1993; Silanikove 1986a; Brosh et al., 1988).

Ability to store energy in adipose tissues when sufficient feed is available and subsequently to mobilize it during periods of scarcity is an important adaptation for animals that have to cope with fluctuating feed supplies (Ball et al., 1996; Ørskov, 1998). Negussie et al. (2000) found that in the Menz and Horro fat-tailed sheep breeds of Ethiopia, tail and rump fat depots were the most readily utilizable in the event of feed shortages. Ermias et al. (2002) reported an encouraging heritability estimate (0.72±0.19) for the combined weight of tail and rump fat in Menz sheep, indicating opportunities for selective breeding.

In addition to adaptations related to feed shortages and the use of high-fibre forages, some breeds of livestock have developed unique physiological abilities that enable them to survive on unusual feed resources. For example, the North Ronaldsay, a breed of sheep native to an island off the coast of Scotland, in the United Kingdom, survives on a diet consisting mainly of the seaweed Limnaria (NCR, 1993). It can cope with a diet that is very low in copper and in which some elements (e.g. sodium) are present in excess. Other breeds found in Scotland, which normally feed on grass or hay, would die from lack of copper if fed on Limnaria.

3.3Adaptation to extreme temperatures

When animals are exposed to heat stress, their feed intakes decrease and they suffer metabolic disturbances (Marai et al., 2007). This, in turn, impairs their productive and reproductive performance. The effects are aggravated when heat stress is accompanied by high humidity. Differences in thermal tolerance exist between livestock species (ruminants are more tolerant than monogastrics), between breeds and within breeds (Berman, 2011; Caldwell, et al., 2011; Coleman, et al., 2012; Renaudeau et al., 2012; Menéndez-Buxadera et al., 2012). For example, McManus et al. (2009a) compared physiological traits (sweating, respiratory and heart rates, rectal and skin temperatures) and blood parameters (packed cell volume, total plasma proteins, red blood cell count, and haemoglobin concentration) in different sheep populations in Brazil: the Santa Inês (a hair sheep with three different coat colours – brown, black and white), the Bergamasca (a wool sheep) and Santa Inês × Bergamasca crosses. The study found that there were significant differences between animals due to breed and skin type, and concluded that the white-coloured Santa Inês animals were the best adapted to high temperatures and that the Bergamasca were the least well adapted. The genetic correlation between milk production and heat tolerance in sheep is reported to be negative (Finocchiaro et al., 2005), indicating that selection for increased milk production will reduce heat tolerance.

The adaptedness of zebu cattle to hot climates is related to the characteristics of their coats, hides and skins, as well as to their haematological characteristics and to their form, growth and physiology (Turner, 1980). Zebu cattle are smooth coated, have better-developed sweat and sebaceous glands than taurine cattle (ibid.). McManus et al. (2009b) compared parameters related to heat tolerance in seven cattle breeds (including zebu and taurine breeds and breeds considered exotic and locally adapted to Brazilian conditions) and found the zebu Nelore to be the best adapted to heat stress and the taurine Holstein to be the least well adapted.

Adaptation to cold (see Box 1E1) involves a number of different mechanisms. For example, a long thick hair coat contributes to thermal insulation. Sheep originating from and living in cold areas deposit more of their body fat under the skin than those adapted to warmer areas (Kempster, 1980; Farid, 1991; Bhat, 1999; Negussie et al., 2000; Ermias et al., 2002). In many sheep adapted to arid conditions, almost all fat is deposited on the rump and/or in the tail (Bhat, 1999). This helps the animals avoid thermal stress, as these deposits do not greatly impede heat loss from the body. Studies of the Horro and Menz sheep breeds of Ethiopia (Negussie et al., 2000; Ermias et al., 2002) have shown that, in the former, a large proportion of total body fat is deposited in the rump and tail, while subcutaneous and intramuscular deposits predominate in the latter. The production environment of the Menz is cooler than that of the Horro, which lives at a slightly lower elevation.

3.4Adaptation to water scarcity

Breeds of ruminants native to arid lands are able to withstand prolonged periods of water deprivation and can graze rangelands where watering sites are 50 km or more far apart (Silanikove, 1994; Bayer and Feldmann, 2003). Livestock that need little water and do not have to go back to a watering point every day can access larger areas of pasture and thus obtain more feed during periods of drought. For example, dromedaries can survive up to 17 days of water deprivation when consuming dry food in hot conditions or can go without drinking water for 30 to 60 days when grazing on green vegetation (Schmidt-Nielsen, 1955; Schmidt-Nielsen et al., 1956). There are also donkey, goat, sheep and cattle breeds that can go without drinking for several days (Bayer and Feldmann, 2003). Such animals drink large amounts of water quickly, but their overall water intake is lower than that of animals that are watered daily. Reduced water intake reduces feed intake and metabolic rate, and animals can therefore survive for longer when feed is scarce. Desert goats are reported to be the ruminants that have the greatest ability to withstand dehydration (Silanikove, 1994). For example, the Black Bedouin goat of the Near East and the Barmer goat of India often drink only once in every four days (Khan et al., 1979a,b,c; Silanikove, 2000). Bedouin goats are also able to maintain a good level of milk production under water deprivation. The basis of these breeds’ ability to cope with severe water shortages is their ability to withstand dehydration and to minimize water losses via urine and faeces. By the fourth day of dehydration, the water losses of Barmer and Bedouin goats may exceed 40 percent of their body weights (Khan et al., 1979a,b; Silanikove, 2000).

3.5Adaptation to interaction with humans

The process of domestication (see Part 1 Section A) involved adaptation to human management. Domesticated animals are more docile than their wild ancestors and less fearful of humans. Nonetheless, routine management procedures (e.g. shearing, castration, tail docking, dehorning, vaccination, herding and transportation) can still trigger fear and thereby negatively affect animal welfare (Boissy et al., 2005). Excessive fear can also reduce productivity. For instance, fear-related reactions affect sexual and maternal behaviours in cattle and sheep. Estimates of the heritability of fear range between 0.09 and 0.53 in dairy cattle and between 0.28 and 0.48 in sheep; a moderate heritability of 0.22 has been estimated for reactions to handling in beef cattle (ibid.). Thus, selection based on reduced fearfulness could have a significant influence on the welfare of ruminant livestock.

3.6Adaptation to predators

Domesticated animals express less vigorous anti-predator behaviour than their wild counterparts, probably because human protection has reduced selection pressure for anti-predator traits. There is some evidence of between-breed differences in antipredator behaviour. Hansen et al. (2001) compared the responses of light, medium-weight and heavy sheep breeds to the presence of predator-related stimuli (leashed dogs or stuffed wild predators on trolleys) and found that the light breeds displayed stronger antipredator reactions (longest flight distance, tightest flocking behaviour and longest recovery time). A more recent study suggested that this response to predatorlike stimuli could explain, at least partially, the improved survivability of free-ranging lambs in light breeds (Steinheim et al., 2012).

4Disease resistance and tolerance

4.1Introduction

Diseases are one of the major constraints to livestock productivity and profitability worldwide. A range of disease-control options exist, including chemical or biological treatments, vaccination and preventive management. Each of these approaches has its strengths, weaknesses and limitations. Another option is to utilize genetic approaches, which can serve either to substitute or to complement other disease-control strategies.

Evidence of genetic influence on disease susceptibility has been reported for many animal diseases (e.g. Bishop and Morris, 2007; Gauly et al., 2010). Advantages of genetic approaches to disease control include the long duration of the effect, the possibility of broad spectrum effects (resistance to more than one disease) and the possibility of using genetics in concert with other approaches (FAO, 1999). In addition, genetic changes should, theoretically, be less subject to pathogen resistance, as they will often be the result of relatively small effects at many genes, none of which alone will be sufficient to drive a genetic response in the pathogen (Berry et al., 2011). Two concepts need to be distinguished in this context: “resistance” refers to the ability of the host to control infection by a given pathogen, whereas “tolerance” refers to the ability of the host to mitigate the adverse effects of the pathogen once infection occurs.

Genetic management of disease can involve a number of different strategies, including breed substitution, cross-breeding and within-breed selection. The appropriate choice of strategy will depend on the disease, the production environment and the resources available. Within-breed selection can be facilitated if molecular genetic markers associated with the desired traits have been identified (CABI, 2010).

Whatever strategy is chosen, genetic diversity in the targeted livestock populations is a necessary precondition. If genetic resources are eroded, potentially important means of combating disease may be lost. Maintaining multiple breeds increases the options available for matching breeds to production environments, including the disease challenges present in these production environments. Maintaining within-breed diversity allows for individual selection. Even where genetic strategies are not immediately required in order to combat current animal health problems, maintaining diversity in the genes underlying resistance means maintaining an important resource for combating the effects of possible future pathogen evolution. Furthermore, at individual animal level, increased genetic diversity may allow for a more robust immune response to a wider range of pathogen strains and species. A recent study of African cattle reported an association between genetic diversity (as measured by molecular heterozygosity) and lower incidence, and higher survival, of infectious diseases (Murray et al., 2013).

This subsection serves as an update of the discussion of the genetics of disease resistance and tolerance presented in the first SoW-AnGR.3 In addition to presenting the latest data available in DAD-IS on breeds’ resistance and tolerance to specific diseases, it briefly discusses recent scientific developments in this field and their potential significance for disease-control strategies, focusing particularly on research findings published since the first SoW-AnGR was prepared. The discussion generally emphasizes diseases for which breed-level resistance or tolerance has been reported to DAD-IS, although research results for other diseases are also cited.

4.2Disease resistant or tolerant breeds

In theory, breeds that have been present an extended period of time in an area where a given disease is endemic may develop genetic resistance or tolerance to that disease. This is because natural selection should favour the accumulation of alleles associated with greater survival. In the case of many common livestock diseases, evidence is available in the scientific literature that some breeds are more resistant or tolerant than others. A number of examples, drawn from recent (i.e. after 2006) studies are presented in Table 1E4. The information entered by countries into DAD-IS includes many anecdotal reports of such adaptations. Table 1E5 presents an overview of the entries in DAD-IS that report disease resistance or tolerance in mammalian breeds. Tables 1E6 to 1E12 list breeds reported to be resistant or tolerant to specific diseases or disease types. In most of these cases, the claims made for specific breeds have not been subject to scientific investigation.

Few new reports of breeds with resistance or tolerance to specific diseases have been entered into DAD-IS since 2007. New examples have generally been from countries that have undertaken comprehensive characterization studies for the first time. However, many more cases of general disease resistance have been reported. In addition, a great deal of research has been undertaken to substantiate anecdotal evidence and uncover the biological mechanisms associated with differences among breeds in terms of their susceptibility to common livestock diseases. Recent scientific developments with respect to the main diseases featured in the DAD-IS data – including several that did not feature in the discussion presented in the first SoW-AnGR – are briefly discussed in the following subsections. Short discussions are also presented for some diseases for which no information on breed resistance has been entered into DAD-IS, but for which information is available in the scientific literature.

Trypanosomosis

Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis remains a serious and costly disease throughout West, Central and, to a lesser extent, East Africa, despite multifaceted attempts to control it. Although trypanocidal drugs can be useful, parasite resistance to these drugs increases yearly. Fortunately, locally adapted breeds of ruminants in areas of high tsetse fly challenge show consistent tolerance to this disease. Table 1E6 contains a full list of breeds recorded in DAD-IS as being trypanotolerant or resistant. As was the case at the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared, the most commonly reported trypanotolerant breeds are N’Dama cattle and Djallonké sheep and goats (also known as West African Dwarf or under other names, depending on the country). Since the time of the first SoW-AnGR, information on trypanotolerant cattle, sheep and goats breeds has been recorded in DAD-IS by Sudan and information on trypanotolerant pigs and equines by several West and Central African countries.

Various studies have been undertaken in recent years to elucidate the biological basis for trypanotolerance (e.g. O’Gorman et al., 2009; Stijlemans et al., 2010; Noyes et al., 2011). Two physiological mechanisms seem to be involved: 1) increased control of parasitaemia; and 2) greater ability to limit anaemia (Naessens et al., 2006). One group of scientists is currently attempting to use genetic modification to create a trypanosomeresistant strain of cattle, based on a genetic mechanism present in baboons and some human populations (Willyard, 2011).

Ticks and tick-borne diseases

Ticks continue to cause disease and production loss throughout the world, most notably in tropical and subtropical areas. Tick infestation causes blood loss and decreased milk or meat production. Ticks also transmit a number of diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis and cowdriosis. Some breeds of cattle are reported to be resistant to tick infestation and tick-borne disease. There are several potential explanations for the greater resistance of some breeds to tick infestation, including their coat characteristics, skin sensitivity, grooming behaviour and degree of inflammatory response (Mattioli et al., 1995; Marufu et al., 2011; Mapholi et al., 2014). Tables 1E7 and 1E8 show the breeds recorded in DAD-IS as being resistant to, or tolerant of, tick infestation and/or tick-borne diseases.

Recent findings suggest that susceptibility and resistance to tick infestation may be related to differences in the types of immune responses that occur in susceptible and resistant animals. Marufu et al. (2014) report that an increased immune response involving basophils, monocytes and mast cells was noted in resistant Nguni cattle, whereas in susceptible animals, neutrophils and eosinophils were the primary cellular responders to tick bite. Increased neutrophil concentrations were hypothesized to facilitate the distribution of tick-borne pathogens within infected hosts, as enzymes that they release compromise the extracellular matrix. Mast cells and basophils, on the other hand, increased immune response in the area of the bite, in addition to promoting grooming behaviours that promote tick removal. Although further research is needed, greater understanding of the immunological basis for between-breed differences in resistance may facilitate the development of more effective control strategies.

Internal parasites

Helminthosis continues to cause major production losses throughout the world, particularly as parasite resistance to anthelminthic drugs increases. This latter development places additional pressure on livestock keepers and governments to rely more heavily on genetically resistant or tolerant breeds for production in parasite-infested areas. Breeds noted in DAD-IS as having some resistance to internal parasites are listed in Table 1E9. Many breeds of small ruminants have been characterized as parasite resistant (González et al., 2012).

As described in the first SoW-AnGR, the Red Maasai sheep of Kenya is noted for its resistance to the parasite Haemonchus contortus. Direct breed comparison studies have shown lower faecal egg counts in Red Maasai than in Dorper lambs (Baker et al., 2004). A more recent study of specific quantitative trait loci in cross-bred animals found that all favourable alleles were associated with the Red Maasai (Marshall et al., 2013). Recent studies have also indicated that the Thalli sheep of Pakistan shows significant resistance to Haemonchus contortus infection and lower levels of anaemia during infection than other Pakistani breeds (Babar et al., 2013). Similarly, Santa Ines ewes (a Brazilian breed) have been found to be more resistant than Ile de France ewes when challenged with this parasite (Rocha et al. , 2011). Since the first SoW-AnGR was prepared, a number of within- and across-breed genomic studies have been undertaken (e.g. Riggio et al., 2013).

The first SoW-AnGR noted that resistance to Fasciola gigantica had been reported in Indonesian Thin Tail sheep. Since that time, researchers have confirmed that this resistance is quite pathogen specific and does not extend to other liver flukes such as F. hepatica (Pleasance et al., 2010). There are indications that the resistance is based on an early type 1 innate immune response.4 A response of this kind is hypothesized to be effective only against F. gigantica, which develops more rapidly than F. hepatica (Pleasance et al., 2011). In molecular and biochemical terms, infections with F. gigantica and F. hepatica elicited different responses in the Indonesian Thin Tail sheep. Immunological responses to F. gigantica also differed between Indonesian Thin Tail sheep and Merino sheep (a non-resistant breed).

Foot-and-mouth disease

Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hooved animals. A vaccine exists, but the disease is also controlled by tight restrictions on the movement of animals from affected to non-affected countries and in some countries by culling programmes in the event of an outbreak. Two buffalo and one cattle breed have been declared in DAD-IS to show some level of resistance to this disease. These reports have yet to be substantiated in the scientific literature.

Bovine leukosis

Bovine leukosis occurs in a proportion of cattle infected with the bovine leukosis virus (BLV). Although not all animals infected with the virus become clinically affected, the condition causes significant losses in production and increased mortality. Evidence of breed-based resistance to clinical leukosis is scant and primarily anecdotal. Reports of resistance are limited to breeds from Central Asia and the Russian Federation (see Table 1E10). However, research on some common international transboundary dairy breeds has indicated a genetic basis for susceptibility to the disease (Abdalla et al., 2013). Research regarding the molecular explanation of resistance suggests that imbalances in certain receptors (tumor necrosis factor alpha in particular) can contribute to increased susceptibility (Konnai et al., 2005).

Bovine tuberculosis

Bovine tuberculosis is a respiratory disease that can be transmitted through milk and has significant negative consequences – both as a disease of livestock and as a zoonosis – particularly in developing countries. Several breeds (13 cattle breeds, 3 goat breeds and 1 sheep breed) are recorded in DAD-IS as being resistant to this disease. These breeds are primarily reported by countries from the Europe and the Caucasus region. Although it has not been recorded in DAD-IS, a recent scientific study (Vordermeier et al., 2012) comparing native Zebu cattle to Holstein cattle in Ethiopia found that the Zebu was more resistant to tuberculosis. Within-breed quantitative genetic studies have found evidence of heritable control of susceptibility to this disease (e.g. Bermingham et al., 2009; Brotherstone et al., 2010; Tsairidou et al., 2014) and genome-wide association studies have identified genomic regions with putative associations with disease incidence (e.g. Bermingham et al., 2014).

Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a zoonosis that particularly affects cattle and goats. Transmission to humans is usually through consumption of contaminated milk or dairy products. Reproductive failure is the main negative consequence in livestock. Anecdotal claims of brucellosis resistance have been made in DAD-IS for one buffalo breed, seven cattle breeds, three goat breeds and two sheep breeds. Genetic studies have primarily concentrated on pathogen strains rather than livestock breeds, but a recent study of polymorphism in genes associated with immune function reported some associations with disease prevalence in cattle (Prakash et al., 2014). In addition, Martínez et al. (2010) studied brucellosis resistance in two Colombian cattle breeds (Blanco Orejinegro and Zebu) and their crosses and observed statistically significant genetic effects according to both quantitative and molecular genetic models.

Scrapie

Scrapie is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of sheep and goats that is endemic in many countries in Europe and North America. Although no information on scrapie has been entered into DAD-IS, the disease can be considered a textbook case with regard to within- and between-breed genetic variability in disease resistance. It has been shown that variability of the so-called PrP locus accounts for a large proportion of the variation in resistance to the disease (Bishop and Morris, 2007). Selection for scrapie resistance based on PrP genotype has been implemented in various sheep breeds (Palhière et al., 2008), including some at-risk breeds (Windig et al., 2007; Sartore et al., 2013). This has led to significant decreases in the frequency of one susceptible haplotype (VRQ), if not its elimination, and to increases in the frequency of a resistance haplotype (ARR). In many cases, it has been possible to implement efficient selection programmes to reduce the susceptible haplotype without having much effect on neutral diversity (Windig et al., 2007; Palhière et al., 2008). However, Sartore et al. (2013) reported an increase in inbreeding in the Italian Sambucana breed after selection started. These contrasting empirical results underline the importance of considering genetic variability when designing selection programmes (Dawson et al., 2008).

Foot rot

Foot rot caused by Dichelobacter nodosus or Fuso-bacterium is a highly contagious disease of sheep, in particular, and can cause production losses and animal welfare concerns. Table 1E11 shows breeds recorded in DAD-IS as being resistant to foot-rot infection. Current knowledge with regard to resistant breeds is similar to that available at the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared. Disease control may in fact be better achieved through within-breed foot-rot lesion scoring (Conington et al., 2008) than through breed selection. A recent epidemiological modelling study suggests that foot rot may be eradicated from a given flock by employing a combination of genetic selection, pasture rotation and timely antibiotic administration (Russell et al., 2013; McRae et al., 2014).

African swine fever

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that causes the rapid death of infected animals. Although recent advances have been made in vaccine development, no commercial product is available and control still relies on strict protocols for disease identification, restriction of animal movements and culling of infected animals. The first SoW-AnGR highlighted the resistance of wild pigs to African swine fever.5 DAD-IS now lists six breeds that are anecdotally reported to have some degree of resistance or tolerance to this disease, including breeds from Southern Africa, Spain and Jamaica. However, no scientifically confirmed reports of genetic resistance are available. Researchers in the United Kingdom have recently used gene-editing procedures to create domestic pigs with the putative genetic mechanism for resistance found in wild pigs (Lillico et al., 2013).

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, more commonly known by the acronym PRRS, is a viral disease caused by the Arteriviridae family. The clinical signs of infection are manifold and can include widespread reproductive failure, including stillbirths, mummified foetuses, premature births and weak piglets. The disease also causes a characteristic thumping respiratory pattern in post-weaning piglets, which can lead to decreased growth and increased mortality. Containment and eradication of the disease is difficult due to the ease with which it is spread. No breeds are recorded in DAD-IS as being resistant to this disease, but differences between breeds and populations have been reported in the scientific literature (Lewis et al., 2007). Reiner et al. (2010) report evidence of resistance to the virus in a population of “Wiesenauer Miniature” pigs developed in Germany; compared to animals belonging to the commercial Pietrain breed, the miniature pigs showed a 96.7 percent lower viral load. Research into the molecular explanation of resistance would allow for better understanding of the mechanisms of resistance to this viral pathogen. Such research is ongoing in a number of laboratories across the world (e.g. Lewis et al., 2009; Boddicker et al., 2012; 2014a,b; Serão et al., 2014).

Diseases of poultry

Table 1E12 lists the avian breeds that are recorded in DAD-IS as being resistant to specific diseases Some level of general or unspecified resistance is reported for 75 other avian breeds (56 chicken, 11 duck, 2 goose, 3 guinea fowl, 1 pigeon, 1 quail and 3 turkey breeds).

Newcastle disease is a highly destructive viral infection affecting poultry and other avian species. The virus is endemic in certain areas of the world and can cause high levels of morbidity and mortality, particularly in intensive poultry management systems. A study comparing the relative resistance of three phenotypes of indigenous chickens in Nigeria found that Naked Neck chickens were more resistant to infection than others and more able to tolerate infection once it occurred (Bobbo et al., 2013). The Yoruba chicken of Nigeria has been noted to have increased immune response to the virus and to be better able to resist and eliminate infection (Adeyemo et al., 2012).

Over the last decade or so, avian influenza virus has become a global threat due to its devastating effects on poultry populations and the risks it poses to human health. No breeds are recorded in DAD-IS as being resistant to avian influenza. However, research indicates that the Mx gene in the Indonesian native chicken may confer increased resistance to infection (Sartika et al., 2011). Moreover, resistance to the virus has been noted in the Fayoumi chicken breed, originally from Egypt but now present worldwide. Molecular analysis suggests that, in the event of infection, genes related to haemoglobin are highly expressed in the Fayoumi. Wang et al. (2014) postulate that this may aid the delivery of oxygen to various tissues, thus reducing the severity and duration of infection. Certain breeds of pigeons are known for their resistance to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 (Liu et al., 2009). Transmission of avian influenza in chickens relies in large part on specific receptors in the respiratory tract that allow the virus to attach. Analysis of these receptors in pigeons suggests that they are more similar to those of humans than those of chickens. Given that humans are also less susceptible than chickens to avian influenza H5N1, this could explain the pigeons’ relatively high levels of resistance.

Genetic resistance to avian leucosis is recorded in DAD-IS for two Egyptian chicken breeds. Development of genetically resistant lines and the use of specific animal husbandry methods have enabled successful eradication of this disease from most commercial breeding populations.

4.3Opportunities to breed for disease resistance

Breed-to-breed differences in disease susceptibility provide opportunities to decrease disease incidence through cross-breeding or breed substitution. However, these approaches are not applicable if the objective is to continue raising a given breed in pure-bred form or if relevant breed substitutions or cross-breeding strategies are not feasible. Therefore, for a number of diseases, selection to take advantage of within-breed variation in disease resistance is an important control strategy.

Numerous examples of within-breed selection for disease resistance exist and various selection strategies have been applied. Within-breed selection has been performed using both major genes and genetic markers (e.g. against scrapie in sheep) and quantitative genetic approaches (e.g. against Marek’s disease in chickens, internal parasites in sheep and mastitis in dairy cows and sheep).

Within-breed selection programmes have always given emphasis to yield traits. However, consideration of heath traits has been increasing. This has probably occurred for three main reasons: 1) greater awareness of the costs of disease; 2) decreasing fitness due to antagonistic relationships with selection and management for increased yield; and 3) increasing capacity to measure and evaluate health-related traits. In some cases, problems with other approaches, including the effects of increased resistance of pathogens to chemical and antibiotic treatments, have led breeders and livestock keepers to seek alternatives.

The most common approach to within-breed selection for health is not based on direct measures of resistance to a given pathogen, but rather aims to improve various phenotypes associated with disease complexes. For example, breeding for decreased mastitis may involve giving consideration to observed mastitis incidence, concentration of somatic cells (leukocytes) in milk and udder conformation. Selection against foot rot may be based on animal-mobility scores. Longevity is often included in selection indices as a measure of general health and disease resistance.

Some researchers have speculated that “–omics” technologies will greatly increase the capacity of breeders to incorporate genetic selection into disease-reduction programmes (e.g. Berry et al., 2011; Parker-Gaddis et al., 2014). The term “–omics” refers to a group of fields of advanced study of biological systems. Examples of potential relevance for the genetics of adaptation and disease resistance include “genomics”, the study of genes and chromosomes; “transcriptomics”, the study of transcribed gene products; “proteomics”, the study of proteins; and “metabolomics”, the study of metabolism. Genomics, particularly “genome-enabled” or “genomic” selection (see Part 4 Section C), may be particularly applicable to diseases for which measurement is difficult or expensive.

In the case of internal parasites, selection for resistance is successfully implemented in Australia and New Zealand by using faecal egg count as the selection criterion. However, measuring faecal egg count requires specific skills and equipment, which may not be available everywhere. One simpler alternative is to make use of the FAMACHA scoring system (a method of identifying anaemic animals by evaluating the redness of mucous membranes around the eyes) (van Wyk and Bath, 2002) to determine which animals within a smallruminant flock are more resistant to parasites and should therefore be selected for breeding (Burke and Miller, 2008). A recent study reported low to moderate heritabilities of FAMACHA scores, indicating the possibility of using them as a selection criterion (Riley and Van Vyk, 2009). FAMACHA scoring is, however, only applicable in situations where Haemonchus contortus is the predominant parasite. The parasites more commonly found in temperate environments generally do not provoke anaemia and hence do not affect the colour of eye mucous membranes.

Research into genetic markers of within-breed resistance to internal parasites in Uruguay and other countries suggests that there are various molecular markers associated with resistance that could be used in selection programmes (e.g. Ciappesoni et al., 2011). However, few of the associations observed for individual genes show consistency across breeds, presumably due to the biological complexity of parasite infection and the immune system (resulting in a polygenic nature for parasite resistance), as well as effects of recombination that cause differences among breeds in the linkage between genes affecting resistance and the genetic markers used in the research studies (Kemper et al., 2011). In theory, genomic selection may be an effective means of controlling parasite infection (see Riggio et al., 2014). However, the cost and expertise required mean that this approach is beyond the means of most sheep-breeding systems, particularly those in developing countries.

5Conclusions and research priorities

The information recorded in DAD-IS, while incomplete, provides some indication of the state of knowledge of adaptive characteristics in breeds of livestock. In many cases, the information reported is anecdotal and has not been evaluated by scientific studies. More information is recorded for cattle and small ruminants than for other species. For some species that undoubtedly have specific adaptations (e.g. the yak), no information on breed-level adaptedness is recorded in DAD-IS. There is need for further research, particularly on species and breeds adapted to low-input production systems in developing countries or to other production systems where environmental conditions are harsh. Anecdotal information such as that provided in DAD-IS may, however, assist researchers in the identification of AnGR that merit further investigation of their adaptive characteristics.

Evidence indicates that, where the production environment is harsh, breeds whose evolutionary roots lie in the local area tend to be better adapted than breeds introduced from elsewhere. Thus, plans to introduce breeds into a new area must give due attention to ensuring that they are sufficiently well-matched to local conditions (taking into account temporal variations and the potential for extreme events such as droughts) and that any adaptations to livestock management practices that may be needed are feasible and sustainable. There is a need to set selection goals that are appropriate to the production system rather than ambitious performance objectives that cannot be reached under prevailing conditions. The integration of fitness traits into breeding programmes is constrained by a number of factors, including low heritability, measurement problems and underlying antagonistic relationships with productive performance traits. Research priorities include improving understanding of the functional genetics and genomics of adaptation traits and the identification and measurement of indicator traits of adaptation, with a view to their possible incorporation into breeding goals. Better mapping of breeds’ geographical distributions and better description of their production environments (see Part 4 Section A) would facilitate the identification of breeds that are likely to be adapted to particular combinations of stressors.

Although the optimal approach will vary from case to case, the inclusion of genetic elements in disease-control strategies is often a prudent and effective approach. Documented successes have been achieved, but the use of genetics in disease control is still far from having reached its full potential, and continued research into the genetics of resistance and tolerance is needed. If breeds become extinct or within-breed diversity is lost before critical knowledge is gained and utilization strategies are developed, opportunities that could greatly contribute to improving animal health and productivity may be lost forever. Where the design and implementation of breeding programmes are concerned, consideration should be given to incorporating productivity and disease resistance as primary traits weighted according to their respective economic values.

Lack of information is the major constraint with respect to fully understanding the genetic mechanisms of disease resistance and tolerance in livestock. As noted throughout this section, many reports of breed-specific disease resistance are anecdotal, especially in developing countries, and are based on observations in a single production environment. Addressing the following research priorities would help to bridge these knowledge gaps and enhance the utilization of genetics in the control of animal diseases:

  • continued phenotypic characterization to confirm anecdotal observations recorded in DAD-IS and elsewhere;
  • genetic characterization to help understand the biological mechanisms underlying observed disease-resistance traits; and
  • development of simple, accurate and cost-effective approaches for routine collection of phenotypic information on disease incidence, to support both characterization and genetic improvement.

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1FAO, 2007, Part 1 Section E (pages 101–112).

3FAO, 2007, Part 1 Section E (pages 101–112).

4Immune responses to infectious diseases comprise types 1 and 2. The two types differ according to the cells involved (T helper 1 vs. T helper 2 cells) and the secretions produced by these cells. Type 1 immune response is characterized by high phagocytic activity, whereas type 2 involves high levels of antibody production. Type 1 immunity is generally protective, whereas type 2 usually involves resolution of cell-mediated immunity. For more information, see Spellberg and Edwards (2001).

5FAO, 2007, Box 14 (page 109).

Section F

Threats to livestock genetic diversity

1Introduction

Threats to animal genetic resources (AnGR) include a wide variety of factors, ranging from inappropriate approaches to AnGR management on a local scale to major national or global economic, social and environmental trends (Gibson et al., 2005; FAO, 2007a; FAO, 2009a; Alemayehu, 2013). They operate on a range of different time and geographical scales. Some AnGR populations are more vulnerable than others to particular threats. Addressing threats to genetic diversity is one of the most important challenges in AnGR management. It requires not only an understanding of the nature and scale of the threats, but also an understanding of where opportunities to address them may lie.

This section aims to update the discussion of threats to AnGR presented in the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a). The first SoW-AnGR distinguished threats arising because of relatively gradual changes in livestock production systems from those associated with acute events such as animal disease epidemics and other kinds of disasters and emergencies. A similar approach is taken in this update.

Detailed information on livestock-sector trends is presented elsewhere in the report (Part 2). Of particular relevance to the analysis of threats is Part 2 Section C, which discusses the effects of livestock-sector trends on AnGR and their management. Also relevant to the analysis of threats is the information on gene flows presented in Part 1 Section C and the information on management capacities presented in Part 3.

Subsection 2 below discusses how the various livestock-sector trends described in Part 2 can translate into threats to AnGR. Subsection 2.1 provides a general overview of the pressures that trends of this kind can exert on livestock diversity. Subsection 2.2 presents some concrete examples of how specific breeds have been affected by various threats, both recently and in the more distant past. Subsection 2.3 presents a review of the information on current threats provided in the country reports.1 Options for addressing these threats are not discussed in detail in this section. Effectively addressing threats associated with livestock-sector trends depends on all the various elements of AnGR management, from the characterization of breeds and their production environments, to the establishment of conservation programmes for at-risk breeds and the establishment of appropriate policy and institutional frameworks. The state of capacity in AnGR management is discussed in Part 3 of the report and the state of the art in management methods in Part 4.

Subsections 3 and 4 below update, respectively, the discussions of disasters and emergencies and of disease epidemics presented in the first SoW-AnGR.

2Livestock sector trends

2.1Overview of trends and their effects on diversity

As discussed in Part 1 Section A, prior to, approximately, the mid-twentieth century, the world’s livestock were raised under very diverse conditions. Animals had to be well adapted to their particular production environments if they were to survive, reproduce and meet the requirements of their owners. Moving AnGR around the world was more difficult than it is today, both in terms of transportation and in terms of establishing livestock populations in new locations. Under these conditions, global AnGR diversity flourished.

Today’s livestock sector presents a different picture. A number of trends have combined to undermine the bulwarks of livestock diversity that had remained largely in place since the days when livestock keeping first spread around the world from the various centres of domestication where it originated. First, a range of technological developments have increasingly enabled production environments to be controlled. Second – again because of technological developments – it has become easier to transport genetic material over long distances. Third, in many production systems, livestock keeping is less multipurpose than it was in the past. Fourth, the livestock sector (particularly the breeding industry), along with the food-processing and retail sectors, has become increasingly dominated by a limited number of large-scale commercial companies. Fifth (again because of technological developments) the number of offspring that can be obtained from individual high-quality or popular animals (particularly male animals) has greatly increased.

While these trends largely emerged in industrialized regions, such as Europe and North America, recent decades have seen them become increasingly significant in parts of the developing world, driven by rapidly rising demand for animal products. The result has often been to create both the opportunity and the motivation to replace diverse locally adapted AnGR with those drawn from a narrow range of high-output breeds. The latter group of breeds, while their populations may be large, are not immune to the threat of genetic erosion. The fifth trend noted above has enabled the very widespread use of a limited number of popular sires. The tendency is reinforced by other trends – homogenization of production environments and breeding goals, greater capacity to transport genetic material and the consolidation of the breeding industry. The outcome has been to greatly reduced the effective population size of a number of widely used breeds (see examples in Table 1F1). Low effective population size implies a high rate of inbreeding and a loss of genetic diversity. It potentially leads to inbreeding depression and higher occurrence of genetic defects. For further information on the effects of inbreeding, see Box 4C1 in Part4 Section C.

The outcome of these trends can be seen in breed risk-status data from the developed regions of the world (see Part 1 Section B). Many breeds became extinct during the twentieth century and many others declined to the brink of extinction. These developments eventually gave rise to concerns about the loss of diversity and to the establishment of breed conservation programmes that have, with varying degrees of success, attempted to revive the fortunes of at-risk breeds (see Part 3 Section D and Part 4 Section D).

Given the experience of developed countries, the spread of industrialized livestock production into the developing world has raised concerns about the fate of the locally adapted breeds of developing regions, particularly those such as East and Southeast Asia that have been greatly affected by the so-called livestock revolution (Delgado et al., 1999) – rapid expansion of large-scale “industrial” livestock production in response to surging demand. The first SoW-AnGR, for example, argued that future “hotspots” of diversity loss were likely to be found in the global “South”.2 Describing developments in Thailand, Charoensook et al. (2013) note that

“since 1981 pig breeding has steadily been industrialised … Thus, indigenous native pigs have been increasingly mated with imported breeds …[they] have gradually become crossbreeds and are finally replaced by European commercial breeds as the meat-delivering end product in the pork industry.”

In this context, it is important to note that countries affected by the livestock revolution are not simply retracing the trajectories followed by their more-developed counterparts. For example, as described in the first SoW-AnGR, the development of poultry production is often “discontinuous”, i.e. rather than “organic” growth through which small poultry farmers gradually expand and intensify their production, “as soon as urban markets, transport infrastructure and services develop, investors … step in and establish large-scale industrial-type units, integrated with modern processing and marketing methods.”3 Likewise, where genetic improvement is concerned, there is a tendency to make use of the genetic progress that has already been achieved in high-output international transboundary breeds4 rather than to establish breeding programmes for locally adapted breeds (Tisdell, 2003). This means that locally adapted breeds remain far behind the newly introduced breeds in terms of their production potential in high-input systems.

Despite the significance of the changes associated with the livestock revolution, it should also be recalled that the livestock production systems of the developing world remain diverse and that not all countries have followed the same pattern of development (see Part 2). Many livestock continue to be kept by poor rural people in more or less traditional production systems. They supply a range of products and services (see Part 1 Section D) for use within the household or for sale through informal channels. Even where large-scale production has taken off, it can coexist with more traditional production in rural areas, as well as with small-scale production of various types in urban and peri-urban zones (commercially oriented small-scale dairy producers keeping a small number of cattle or buffaloes, slum dwellers keeping a few poultry, goats or pigs to supplement their livelihoods, and so on).

Many countries face the challenge of managing the use of AnGR across a range of very different production systems, sometimes co-existing in close proximity to each other. In these circumstances, one potential threat to diversity (and to effective use of currently available resources) may be a “one size fits all” approach to the use of AnGR, i.e. the increasing use of a narrow range of breeds across still diverse production environments. This may be exacerbated by a lack of knowledge of relative merits of different types of AnGR under different conditions. As discussed in Part 3 Section B, many breeds remain inadequately characterized. Heavy promotion of exotic germplasm by breeding companies or development agencies may also be a factor (Rege and Gibson, 2003).

The speed of change associated with the livestock revolution may also exacerbate threats to diversity. Where livestock production is in a state of rapid flux, with new production systems emerging, traditional systems being transformed and nontraditional types of AnGR becoming more accessible, breeds may fall out of use so rapidly that it is difficult for stakeholders to react and introduce measures to promote their sustainable use and conservation. Unfortunately, monitoring programmes for trends in the size and structure of breed populations and other trends that may affect their risk status (FAO, 2011b), remain inadequate in many countries (see Part 1 Section B and Part 3 Section B).

Where environmental conditions are harsh, external inputs are in short supply and animals have to serve multiple purposes, replacing locally adapted breeds with exotic alternatives continues to be relatively difficult, so some locally adapted breeds may, by default, be protected to some degree from the threat of being replaced by exotic alternatives. However, production systems of this type are not free of threats to AnGR. Rural livestockkeeping livelihoods can be disrupted by a range of factors, including degradation of natural resources, land-use changes or regulations that restrict access to grazing land and other resources, loss of livestock-keeping labour caused by outmigration in search of work, emerging animal health problems that reduce income from livestock keeping and the imposition of marketing restrictions associated with disease-control efforts. In some circumstances, pressures on natural resources may, rather than promoting the maintenance of well-adapted breeds that are relatively well able to deal with the problems associated with these pressures, increase the demand for alternative, apparently higher producing, breeds.

Production system changes feature prominently among the threats to AnGR noted in the report submitted by the African Union Interafrican Bureau of Animal Resources as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process (see Box 1F1).

Among environmental trends generating threats to livestock diversity, the first SoW-AnGR recognized that global climate change was likely to present a major challenge. The report noted that threats associated with climate change could be associated with gradual changes in livestock-production systems (i.e. changes of the type described in this subsection) or in sudden catastrophic events (climatic disasters and disease outbreaks – see the following subsections). The significance of climate change is, likewise, noted at several points in the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b). However, emphasis is placed largely on the potential role of AnGR in climate change adaptation, rather than on the role of climate change as a potential threat to AnGR diversity.

Since 2007, concerns about climate change have continued to increase. In the field of genetic resources management, this was reflected in the adoption, in 2013, of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA)’s Programme of Work on Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2013a) and in the publication of a set of CGRFA background study papers on the links between genetic resources management and climate change, including one on the AnGR subsector (FAO, 2011a).

Climate change affects livestock production systems in many ways. If temperatures increase, heat stress in the animals themselves may become an increasing problem (ibid.). The availability of feed and the prevalence of diseases and parasites can be affected by changes in the local ecosystem. If changes are rapid, the adaptive link between a breed and the production environment in which it has traditionally been raised may be broken. Production systems may also be affected in more indirect ways: via the effect of climate change on input prices and via the effect of climate change mitigation strategies (ibid.). The effects of climatic disasters (floods, hurricanes, etc.) are discussed in more detail below (Subsection 3).

It remains difficult to predict the impact that climate change will have on AnGR diversity. This is partly because the effects of climate change are generally difficult to predict, particularly effects on complex aspects of ecosystem function, such as the epidemiology of diseases. However, it is also true that the vulnerability of particular breeds or populations to the effects of climate change is generally not well understood, whether in terms of their distribution in relation to geographical areas likely to be affected by climate change, the capacity of particular AnGR to thrive in changed agroclimatic conditions or the capacity of relevant groups of livestock keepers to adapt their management practices. Box 1F2 illustrates the potential impact of climate change on the geographical distribution of the production environment of a Kenyan cattle breed.

Livestock-sector trends that threaten AnGR diversity are not necessarily simply a matter of the sector responding to economic, social, environmental and technological drivers of the type described above (and in more detail in Part 2). They can also be influenced by public policy. Actions taken by national or local governments can make it easier or more difficult to make a living from particular types of production system (or from livestock keeping in general). If production systems that harbour diverse livestock populations are adversely affected, whether directly or because of competition from other production systems that benefit disproportionally, public policies can constitute a threat to AnGR. The first SoW-AnGR noted, for example, that policies that promote the introduction of high external input production systems or the use of exotic animals can pose a threat to locally adapted breeds.5 Clearly, policies of this type cannot be dismissed simply on the grounds that they might put breeds at risk. All the various pros and cons from economic, social and environmental perspectives need to be weighed up. From the AnGR management perspective, the objective should be to ensure that whatever developments are planned, the breeds used are well matched to their production environments and that potential impacts on genetic diversity are assessed so that conservation measures can be taken if necessary.

It is also possible for livestock-sector policies to have a positive effect on AnGR diversity. This may be an inadvertent consequence of polices that (e.g. for livelihood-related reasons) promote the continued existence of diverse forms of livestock production. Alternatively, it may be the effect of conscious mainstreaming of AnGR-related concerns into other aspects of livestock development. It may also be the effect of the establishment of national strategies, plans or policies specifically intended to promote the sustainable management of AnGR. In the eyes of some stakeholders, the absence or weakness of such policies constitutes, in itself, a threat to AnGR diversity (FAO, 2009a). The argument has sometimes been taken a step further, with a lack of political will to support AnGR management programmes or to support rural communities being identified as a threat (ibid.). The links between national policies and AnGR management are discussed in more detail in Part 3 Section F.

Broad economic, social, environmental and policy drivers of change translate into a loss of AnGR diversity when they mean that livestock keepers who maintain the various breeds and populations that contribute to this diversity are no longer able or willing to do so (and if no one else is willing and able to take on the role). Even if breeds do not fall out of use, loss of diversity can occur if they are subject to genetic erosion caused by inbreeding or so-called indiscriminate cross-breeding (see below for further discussion). As discussed above, inbreeding can be an issue even in breeds that remain popular and have large population sizes.

The immediate factors leading to breeds being abandoned (i.e. no longer being used) are diverse and often act in conjunction. Examples include:

  • changes in demand that mean that products and services from certain types of livestock are no longer sought-after;
  • competition (from other breeds, species, production systems or from outside the livestock sector);
  • degradation of natural resources required to maintain particular types of livestock (or livestock in general) or livestock keepers’ lack of access to these resources (see Box 1F3 for an example);
  • availability of alternative livelihood options (e.g. jobs in manufacturing, services, etc.);
  • additional costs associated with livestock keeping (or particular types of livestock keeping);
  • sociocultural factors that make livestock keeping (or particular types of livestock keeping) unattractive as a livelihood activity; and
  • other changes (e.g. to climate, disease epidemiology or husbandry practices) that mean that particular breeds are no longer well matched to their production environments.

Indiscriminate cross-breeding is widely recognized as a threat to AnGR diversity. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b) notes, for example, that

“indiscriminate cross-breeding with exotic breeds is also rapidly compromising the genetic integrity of local populations.”6

It is important to note in this context cross-breeding is not necessarily a threat. Well-planned cross-breeding activities can help to keep potentially threatened breeds in use (FAO, 2010; 2013b). The word “indiscriminate” refers to a lack of attention to the choice of which animals should be mated to which. This can occur simply because animals are free roaming and mating is uncontrolled or because of unstructured attempts by individual livestock keepers to improve their herds or flocks. The problem may be exacerbated by policies that encourage artificial insemination with exotic genetics but do not ensure that this is done in a well-planned way. As well as being a threat to diversity, indiscriminate cross-breeding can also lead to problems in terms of the productivity of the affected population or its resilience to shocks (droughts, disease outbreaks, etc.). The case of the Red Maasai sheep of East Africa was highlighted in the first SoW-AnGR as an example of a breed severely affected by indiscriminate cross-breeding (in this case with the Dorper breed, introduced from South Africa).7 The potential risks associated with these developments are illustrated in the following quotation from Ojango et al., 2014:

“The changing climatic conditions, notably the severe droughts, have been disastrous to the pastoral animal populations in general, and especially for pure and higher grades of Dorper crosses. The indigenous sheep breeds have however withstood such challenges much better.”

It is, of course, possible that “upgrading” a population via continuous cross-breeding may be chosen as an organized (as opposed to “indiscriminate”) strategy. If this strategy is widely implemented it may pose a threat to the existence of the targeted breed and require the implementation of some kind of conservation programme if the breed’s extinction is to be avoided.

2.2Threats to individual breeds – examples from literature

The discussion presented above provides an overview of how livestock-sector trends are likely to exert pressures on livestock diversity. However, the global livestock sector is very diverse and each individual breed faces a particular combination of threats and opportunities and has a particular set of characteristics (strengths and weaknesses) that influence the likelihood that it will continue to be used under changing circumstances. It is therefore difficult to predict the future of an individual breed based merely on a general analysis of how the livestock sector is evolving. As discussed in Part 4 Section D, conserving and promoting the sustainable use and development of an at-risk or vulnerable breed requires a careful assessment of the concrete circumstances facing the breed and those who keep (or potentially keep) it. While there is no substitute for a thorough analysis of the characteristics of the targeted breed, its production system and the trends affecting them, it is possible that lessons can be learned from studying how, in other circumstances, factors have combined to drive specific breeds towards extinction. Unfortunately, in many cases, the factors leading to the decline of individual breeds have not been recorded in detail. This subsection present some examples drawn from scientific and historical literature (examples from the country reports can be found in Subsection 2.3 below and in Part 2 Section C).

Zander (2011) reports that sedentarization among the Borana pastoralists of Ethiopia and Kenya has led to the uptake of new livelihood activities such as crop farming, as well as providing the opportunity to purchase cattle from breeds other than the Borana. This is reported to have led to a dwindling of the breed’s population, as well as to its dilution through cross-breeding. Interestingly, the same paper reports that in Kenya the main threat has been associated with exotic breeds, while in Ethiopia the main threat has been replacement and dilution by other locally adapted breeds.

Rahman et al. (2013), in a paper on the causes of genetic erosion among “indigenous cattle” in Mymensingh district Bangladesh, also report that indiscriminate cross-breeding is a major problem. They also note that “using various equipment and machineries in agricultural fields… seems to be a major cause of the loss of indigenous draught animals.”

The case of the Sheko cattle breed of Ethiopia, as described by Taye et al. (2009), provides an example of how changes to the production environment can interact with a breed’s particular characteristics to threaten its survival. Reduced availability of grazing land is reported to have led to smaller herd sizes and to greater use of tethering as opposed to free grazing. Smaller herd sizes meant that fewer farmers kept Sheko bulls, and this led to a shortage of bulls for breeding and more cross-breeding with “non-descript” local bulls. The Sheko is not well adapted to a tethering system, because of its aggressive nature and its lack of horns, which also contributed to the decline in its use (ibid.). The Sheko is the only surviving taurine cattle breed in that part of Africa and has numerous characteristics that are reportedly appreciated by farmers (e.g. relatively high milk yield, disease tolerance, draught stamina, less-selective feeding behaviour, attractive appearance, ability to maintaining good body condition, short inter-calving period and long lactation period). Nonetheless, at the time the Taye et al. (2009) study was undertaken (2004–2005), a lack of appreciation of the breed’s importance and a lack of intervention to support its sustainable management were reported to be among the threats to its survival. Ethiopia’s country report indicates that the current situation is more promising in this respect, with an in situ conservation programme in operation based on extension activities to improve management, awareness-raising activities and the use of artificial insemination using Sheko semen to help overcome the shortage of bulls. For further information on threats to the Sheko and other Ethiopian cattle breeds, see Box 1F8.

As noted above, detailed information on the factors currently threatening individual breeds is not widely available. On the other hand, numerous snippets of information can be found in more historical literature about how breeds in developed countries (when they were relatively less “developed”) were driven towards extinction. Breed replacement, cross-breeding to the point of disappearance, replacement of breed function, poor management of breeding, among other factors, all played a role (see Box 1F5). In several cases, it appears that breeds were only saved by the perseverance of a small number of breeders. Driving forces of change included changing market demand and changes to the production system. However, changing fashions and “crazes” also appear to have played a role. Where relatively detailed accounts are available, they generally indicate that a combination of factors was involved (see Boxes 1F6 and 1F7).

2.3Country-report analysis

The concluding chapter of the first SoW-AnGR8 noted that the discussion of threats to AnGR diversity had thus far tended to remain focused on changes at the level of the livestock production system. In other words (as noted above), it generally remained unclear how broadly identified threats were operating in concrete circumstances to drive specific breeds towards extinction. It could equally have been stated that there had been little detailed analysis of which among the various threats identified were actually creating the most serious challenges for stakeholders trying to promote the sustainable management of AnGR at national level. In an attempt to fill the latter knowledge gap, countries were asked, as part of the reporting process for the second SoW-AnGR, to describe how livestock-sector trends (broadly those identified as significant in the first SoW-AnGR) were affecting the management of their AnGR. Countries were also asked to describe the factors leading to the erosion of their AnGR and to specify what breeds or species were affected. Analysis of countries’ responses to the questions on livestock-sector trends is presented in Part 2 Section C.

The factors most frequently mentioned in countries’ responses to the question about the causes of genetic erosion are shown in Table 1F2. The question was open-ended, i.e. countries were asked to provide textual answers. Some chose to refer to high-level drivers of change, while others focused on factors operating at the level of the production system, holding or herd, or on policy or institutional weaknesses. Thus, while the answers presumably reflect priority concerns, they probably do not present a comprehensive picture of all the factors contributing to genetic erosion in the respective countries. It should also be noted that only about 35 percent of reporting countries indicated that they regularly assess the factors leading to the erosion of their AnGR, and that assessments of this kind are far more common in Europe and the Caucasus and North America than in other regions.

The most frequently mentioned cause of genetic erosion was indiscriminate cross-breeding. The prevalence of this threat (reported particularly frequently by African countries) implies that improving the management of breeding could contribute significantly to reducing genetic erosion. However, the implementation of such improvements is likely to be challenging in many countries, particularly given that the third most commonly mentioned factor contributing to genetic erosion was a lack of, or weak, AnGR-management programmes, policies or institutions (for further discussion of capacity to implement breeding programmes, see Part 3 Section C). The second and the fourth most frequently mentioned threats were replacement of locally adapted breeds by exotic breeds and the lack of competitiveness or poor performance of some breeds (usually those in the locally adapted category). These two threats are inter-related. Lack of competitiveness or profitability is often caused by the presence of more competitive (often exotic) alternatives. The decision to start using exotic breeds is normally taken because these breeds are more profitable (or at least are expected to be so). An example of the interplay between lack of management capacity, demand for high-output animals, breed replacement and uncontrolled crossbreeding as threats to diversity is described in Box 1F9.

In addition to the above-mentioned responses related to breeds’ lack of profitability, a small number of country reports (7 percent or less) mention either unspecified economic and market-related factors or broad economic trends such as globalization, trade liberalization or increasing levels of imports. A few mention specific changes in consumer demand that have led to falling demand for the products or services of particular breeds or species. The examples are quite diverse and include cases from both developed countries and developing countries (see Box 1F10). They also include shifts both away from and towards demand for higher-quality products.

After lack of profitability, the next most commonly mentioned threat (16 percent of responses) was intensification of production or decline of traditional or small-scale production systems. This threat was more frequently mentioned in the country reports from Europe and the Caucasus (39 percent) than in those from other regions, although also quite frequently mentioned in the reports from Latin America and the Caribbean (29 percent). Another threat to the production systems that underpin AnGR diversity – loss of grazing land or other components of the production environment – received the same number of responses. The country report from Guinea, for example, notes that the area available for pastoral grazing is being reduced by the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the spread of mining operations. The country report from South Africa notes that mining is reducing the availability of grazing land and also affecting water quality and that wildlife ranching is also encroaching on grazing land. Further examples are provided in Boxes 1F1, 1F3 and 1F8 and in Part 2 Section C.

Disease or disease-control measures were also mentioned in 16 percent of responses. Details of the mechanisms involved were not always provided. However, in some cases the country reports indicate that culling measures are a threat (see Box 1F13 for an example). The threat posed by disease epidemics is discussed in further detail below (Subsection 4).

A number of responses (10 percent) mention problems related to the inappropriate management of breeding programmes, particularly practices that lead to inbreeding. This answer was more common in country reports from Europe and the Caucasus than in those from other regions.

Another threat mentioned in a similar number of responses (9 percent), mostly in reports from Asia and Europe and the Caucasus, is migration from rural areas or uptake of alternative employment. For example, the country report from China, notes that

“thousands of families in rural areas have quit animal rearing … The accelerated withdrawal of backyard farmers will inevitably lead to reduction or even extinction of local genetic resources.”

A related factor mentioned in a smaller number of responses (3 percent – all from Europe and the Caucasus) is ageing of the faming population and a lack of interest in livestock keeping among the younger generation.

Mechanization of agriculture and transport leading to the decline of breeds used for draught was mentioned in 7 percent of responses overall, but considerably more frequently among those from Asian countries (24 percent). Climate change, in contrast, was mentioned most frequently in responses from African countries (16 percent, as compared to 6 percent for the world as a whole). Species replacement as a result of climate change is noted, for example, in the country report from Ethiopia (see Box 1F8). The report from Mali notes that climatic changes have led to changes in transhumance patterns, with pastoralist herds remaining for longer in the southern part of the country. This in turn has led to degradation of natural resources, conflicts over resource use and indiscriminate cross-breeding between breeds from the north of the country and those from the south. The potential for climate change to increase risks associated with meteorological disasters is further discussed below (Subsection 3).

A range of other threats were mentioned by a limited number of countries. One issue that is causing some concern in parts of Europe is the threat from predator animals, the populations of some of which are expanding in some areas because of restrictions on hunting (see Box 1F14).9 The threat to livestock has been exacerbated by changes in management – larger flocks per shepherd – that have increased animals’ vulnerability. Elsewhere in the world, the country report from South Africa notes that predation, along with theft, remains a major challenge and some farmers have moved from conventional livestock keeping to wildlife ranching as a result. It further notes that an in-depth scientific evaluation of predation is being undertaken with the aim of developing more acceptable control methods.

3Disasters and emergencies

As noted in the introduction to this section, the first SoW-AnGR distinguished threats associated with gradual changes to productions systems from those associated with acute events such as climatic disasters. These two different types of threat present quite distinct challenges in terms of AnGR management and it is therefore useful to discuss them separately. In reality, however, there are many connections between the two. A gradual trend may make an acute disaster more likely, increase its impact or increase the vulnerability of a given livestock population to its effects. This subsection updates the discussion of disasters and emergencies presented in the first SoW-AnGR. Threats of this type and efforts to manage them are not discussed in any detail elsewhere in the report. This subsection therefore presents a relatively detailed analysis of developments in this field.

It is well recognized that a catastrophic event that kills large numbers of animals can pose a threat to AnGR diversity, particularly to breeds or populations that are concentrated within a limited geographical area. This kind of threat was discussed in some detail in the first SoW-AnGR. The report noted that impacts on AnGR can occur both because of the direct effects of an “inciting event”, such as a hurricane or earthquake, and because of longer-term disruptions associated with a “state of emergency” brought about by an event of this kind. It also recognized that actions taken to deal with an emergency situation, particularly the restocking of livestock populations, can have a significant effect on AnGR diversity. A distinction was drawn between “acute” and “chronic” emergencies. The former correspond to the above-described pattern: a major inciting event that occurs in a short, discrete, period of time is followed by a longer, but finite, period of disruption. A chronic emergency, in contrast, involves an ongoing state of disruption caused by continuing, or periodically recurring, problems (e.g. intermittent droughts, intermittent military conflicts or the effects of human-health problems such as HIV/AIDS). Chronic emergencies, while they may not involve such devastating impacts in terms of livestock mortality, can have a significant effect on AnGR diversity, both because of disruptions to livestock-keeping livelihoods and because of associated livestock-related development interventions, such as projects that introduce exotic animals.

In addition to the direct effects that they can have in terms of livestock deaths and disruptions to livelihoods, disasters can also disrupt the delivery of livestock-related services and the operation of management programmes, including those related to the sustainable use and development of AnGR. The following quotation is taken from Liberia’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan:

“Skills essential for environment and biodiversity management were lost through death, incapacities and migration. Records and publications (biodiversity information) important for the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources were destroyed. The only research institution, CARI, was vandalized and destroyed during the war, resulting in loss of crop and livestock genetic materials. Domestic animals were decimated, including pets like cats and dogs.”(Government of Liberia, 2004).

Another potential threat is that a large-scale disaster, such as a war, may create such urgent demand for food that animals are slaughtered indiscriminately without sufficient attention being paid to the need to retain high-quality breeding animals. This effect is reported to have threatened the survival of several British pig breeds during the First World War (Wiseman, 2000).

Disasters and emergencies did not feature prominently among responses to the countryreport question on causes of genetic erosion (Table 1F2). A few countries mentioned military conflicts, and this threat was also noted in the reports submitted by both AU-IBAR and the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD) as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process.10 As noted above, several countries mentioned climate change as a threat, but generally these responses did not refer explicitly to disaster risk. Several countries (e.g. Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kenya), noted drought as a significant threat.

In terms what can be done to protect AnGR from the effects of disasters and emergencies, the first SoW-AnGR recognized that at the height of major acute emergency, interventions to protect animals would rarely be a priority. The importance of taking precautions in advance was therefore emphasized. If possible, breeds or populations that are vulnerable to the effects of disasters should be included in ex situ conservation programmes under which cryoconserved material and/or live animals are kept at a location (or preferably more than one location) outside the disasterprone area. In the case of emergencies that have a slower onset or are less severe in terms of their effects on the human population, the first SoW-AnGR noted that there might be more scope for taking action to protect at-risk breed populations from destruction. However, it also recognized that this would generally require a degree of advanced planning and good knowledge of where threatened populations are located. The need to improve knowledge of breeds’ geographical distribution was one of the main recommendations of the first SoW-AnGR with respect to the threats posed by disasters and emergencies.

In addition to establishing ex situ conservation schemes, disaster preparedness can also include practical steps to mitigate the effects of disasters. Examples include the creation of fodder banks in areas that are prone to climatic disasters such as droughts or severe winter weather, and contingency plans for the provision of feed, water and veterinary services in the event of a disaster. Disaster early-warning systems may help to give people the time needed to implement measures to protect their animals. Further information on livestock-related emergency preparedness measures can be found in the Livestock and emergency guidelines (LEGS, 2009) published by the Livestock and Emergency Guidelines and Standards Project.

In some cases, preparedness measures may include the establishment of facilities that can be used to physically protect animals from the immediate effects of a disaster. For example, in Bangladesh, where more than 1 million cattle were killed by Cyclone Sidr in 2007, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has constructed a number of multipurpose cyclone shelters that can house both people and animals (IRIN, 2012). Another measure taken in some parts of Bangladesh is to construct elevated earth structures, known as killas, upon which livestock can be kept during cyclones (Choudhury, 1993; Floreani and Gattolin, 2011). Where naturally safer ground is accessible, specialized constructions may be unnecessary. For example, in the wake of Hurricane Isodore, which struck Mexico in 2002, local municipalities in Yucatan purchased areas of land a few kilometres away from the coast and promoted the relocation of animals from vulnerable coastal areas (UNISDR, 2013). In Indonesia, when the Mount Merapi volcano erupted in 2010, local authorities provided livestock feed and shelter in safe areas so that animals did not have to be left in villages threatened by the eruptions (Husein et al., 2010).

Measures taken to protect animals from the physical effects of a disaster need to be well adapted to local circumstances and feasible in terms of the resources available. Taking Bangladesh again as an example, the current number of cyclone shelters is insufficient to protect the whole human population in cyclone-affected zones, and therefore construction of relatively elaborate combined human– animal shelters may not always be regarded as a priority (IRIN, 2012). Killas, on the other hand, are simple constructions, but tend to fall into disrepair when not in use. People may also be unwilling to take their animals to killas if they are located far away from human shelters. It has been argued that some kind of combination of a shelter for the people and a killa for the animals is the preferable option in these circumstances (Choudhury, 1994; Floreani and Gattolin, 2011).

Preparedness measures, if taken at all, will generally focus on protecting livestock in general rather than on protecting AnGR diversity per se. However, increasing the proportion of the livestock population protected will, by default, tend to increase the probability that particularly significant subpopulations (e.g. breeds that are rare or have unique features) will be protected. If such populations have been identified and their locations are known, it may be possible to take steps to ensure that they are covered by whatever preparedness measures are in place in the local area, or even to prioritize them.

In the case of post-disaster restocking, choosing appropriate breeds or species is an important part of the planning process. It may be tempting to use the restocking exercise as an opportunity to “improve” the local livestock population. However, given the difficult conditions that are likely to prevail in a post-disaster situation, introducing animals that require higher levels of care and inputs may be a risky strategy. Even at the best of times, introducing a new breed requires careful planning to ensure that the animals and the production system are well matched (FAO, 2010). Using locally adapted rather than exotic breeds for restocking is likely to reduce the potential for negative consequences for AnGR diversity. However, even in these circumstances, it is possible that restocking may have negative effects on specific breeds. The ability to identify any such potential threats is, again, likely to depend on the availability of good knowledge of the characteristics, distribution and demographics of local livestock populations.

Where interventions that aim to address more chronic emergencies or longer-term postdisaster development are concerned (i.e. actions taken once the disruptions of the immediate aftermath have subsided), the “standard” AnGR-related advice applies (see for example FAO, 2010): any breeds or crosses that are introduced must be appropriate for the local production environment and the needs of the local livestock keepers; potential impacts on the AnGR of the local area should be assessed and, if necessary, conservation measures (FAO, 2013b) should be implemented.

While, given the destructive power of many disasters and the geographical concentration of some breed populations, the existence of a potential threat to AnGR diversity appears to be quite clear – and is widely recognized among those involved in AnGR management – the first SoW-AnGR noted that the scale of this threat was unclear. In fact, it was difficult to find any documented examples in which the risk status of specific breed populations had been significantly worsened by a disaster or emergency. The main exception to this was a case study on the effects that the 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (and subsequent efforts to rehabilitate the country’s livestock sector) had had on AnGR, particularly the Busha breed of cattle, whose population reportedly declined from over 80 000 in 1991 to below 100 in 2003.11 This kind of “before versus after” analysis is, clearly, reliant on the existence of reasonably precise and up-to-date figures for the size of the respective breed population in the run up to the emergency and on there being sufficient capacity to assess the post-emergency situation (i.e. to carry out some type of population survey). Breed-specific data on the number of animals killed by acute disasters are, not surprisingly, rarely available – and no such examples were presented in the first SoW-AnGR.

The first SoW-AnGR cited sources (IFRC, 2004; EM-DAT database)^12^ indicating that the frequency of many types of disaster had been increasing over the preceding years and decades.13 Recent data indicate that, while at global scale there may be a downward trend in human mortality rates associated with hydrometeoroligical disasters, overall economic and livelihood losses associated with disasters are increasing rapidly (UNISDR, 2013; Lavall and Maskrey, 2013). In very broad terms, it seems that improved early warning systems, along with better developed infrastructure, health care systems, etc. have often allowed more human lives to be saved,14 while little progress has been made in terms of the land use planning and environmental-management measures that might reduce exposure to certain types of disaster (UNISDR, 2013). Disaster trends also vary greatly from one region to another. For example, in contrast to the general trend, flood mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa have been increasing consistently in recent decades. Increases in the hazard exposure of “produced capital” have been particularly marked in areas where economic growth has been rapid (e.g. in parts of Asia) (ibid.).

Disaster risk is also probably being affected by climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its special report on managing extreme events and disasters (IPCC, 2013b), concluded that, at global scale, climate change can be expected to increase the frequency and/or severity of several types of extreme weather events and other potentially disastrous phenomena (e.g. slope instabilities and lake outburst floods caused by glacial retreat or permafrost degradation) in the coming decades (see Box 1F15). Certain other types of extreme event are, however, predicted to become less frequent. There are also expected to be shifts in the geographical distribution of certain types of event.

The advice on disasters and emergencies presented in the first SoW-AnGR was, in broad terms, taken up in the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b), which calls for the establishment of “integrated support arrangements to protect breeds and populations at risk from emergency or other disaster scenarios, and to enable restocking after emergencies, in line with the national policy.”15 It also calls for the establishment of backup ex situ conservation systems for “protection against the risk of emergency or disaster scenarios.”16 According to the country reports, 30 percent of countries have put arrangements in place to protect breeds and populations that are at risk from natural or human-induced disasters (FAO, 2014). However, the scope of these measures is in some cases limited to measures such as the provision of compensation to livestock keepers affected by natural disasters or the implementation of broad disaster-management strategies.

Another field in which there have been significant developments since the publication of the first SoW-AnGR is the assessment of geographical distribution as a factor affecting breeds’ risk statuses. The significance of geographical concentration was, for example, highlighted in a paper by Carson et al. (2009), which showed that out of 12 British sheep breeds assessed, 10 had 95 percent of their population numbers concentrated within a radius of 65 km or less (in some cases less than 30 km). Geographical concentration was subsequently incorporated into the United Kingdom’s breed risk classification system (Alderson, 2009). In another study, Bahmani et al. (2011) analysed the distribution of the Markhoz goat in the Islamic Republic of Iran and discovered that 77 percent of its population was concentrated within a circle with a radius of 7 km. In this case, natural disasters such as droughts are reported to have already contributed to the decline of the breed’s population (ibid.).

More generally, access to data on breed distribution will be improved by the development of the production environment descriptors (PEDS) module of the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS),17 which will allow National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources to record the distribution of their countries’ breeds on electronic maps. The importance of collecting data on the distribution of breed populations is emphasized in FAO’s guideline publications on surveying and monitoring of AnGR and on phenotypic characterization (FAO, 2011b; FAO, 2012a).

Once breed distribution data are available, a potential next step is to relate these data to the geographical distribution of disaster risk.18 This might, for example, help provide an indication of the scale of the potential threat and draw attention to areas where risk-reduction activities for AnGR are particularly needed. It should, however, be borne in mind that sophisticated risk-mapping exercises are not necessarily a prerequisite for action. As some of the examples presented above suggest, basic knowledge of how risk is geographically distributed on a local scale can provide a basis for preparedness measures to protect livestock (and potentially to protect specific breed populations).

To what extent has awareness of AnGR management issues spread beyond the “AnGR community” and into the consciousness of a wider layer of stakeholders involved in the management of disasters and emergencies? The first SoW-AnGR noted that disaster-preparedness and risk-management activities had, in general, tended to include few specific recommendations for the livestock sector, although some efforts were being made by some international agencies to address these deficiencies. The report also noted that while post-disaster rehabilitation activities often involve livestock-related interventions, the literature on the subject included little mention of AnGR issues.

As noted above, since the publication of the first SoW-AnGR, the literature on general livestock-related interventions to assist people affected by humanitarian crises has been augmented by the work of the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) Project. The LEGS Handbook (LEGS, 2009) recommends that animals used for restocking should be from locally adapted breeds, both because of their good capacity to thrive in local conditions and because local people will know how to manage them. However, it offers no guidance on how to address threats to specific AnGR that may arise because of a disaster or emergency or because of response measures. This pattern – recognition of the importance of using appropriate locally adapted animals for restocking, but no more specific AnGR-related advice – reflects much of the earlier literature on the topic (e.g. Heath et al., 1999; Simpkin, 2005; Nyariki et al., 2005). It is unclear whether awareness of AnGR-related issues among practitioners involved in restocking projects or in implementing other disaster-related interventions has increased in recent years. Practical implementation seems to remain a problem, at least in some countries (see Box 1F8 for example).

At national level, many countries have plans or strategies19 – and in some cases also legislation20 – related to the management of disasters and emergencies. As part of a survey on legal and policy frameworks affecting AnGR management conducted by FAO in 2013 (see Part 3 Section F for more details), countries were asked whether they had any legal or policy instruments related to disasters and emergencies and whether these had any impact on AnGR management. The results indicate that 76 percent of the 48 responding countries have legislation on disaster prevention measures either in place or under development and almost as many (74 percent) have policies in place or under development. A number of countries reported that these instruments include provisions related to the protection of livestock and in several cases also specifically to the protection of AnGR. In some cases, however, it appears that these measures relate only to the control of animal disease epidemics and in others that the only measures taken are precautionary gene banking.

One of the few reported laws that specifically addresses the protection of AnGR from a range of natural and human-induced disasters is Slovenia’s Livestock Breeding Act (2002),21 which states that

“if due to the state of emergency or state of war, or due to natural or other disasters the preservation of the breeding materials necessary to ensure, to a minimum extent, the reproduction of domestic animals is endangered, or if the biological diversity of domestic animals in the Republic of Slovenia is endangered to a larger extent, the Minister may assign to breeding organizations and breeders, as well as to other recognized and approved organizations hereunder special technical and other tasks in order to prevent such endangering.”

Another example is Viet Nam’s Ordinance on Livestock Breeds (2004),22 which refers to “the restoration of livestock breeds in cases where natural disasters or enemy sabotages cause serious consequences.”

Several of the survey responses mention that national disaster prevention policies include provisions related to the protection of livestock or that this task falls within the mandate of disasterprotection agencies. However, few details are provided. Several responses note the need to introduce AnGR-specific measures into disaster-related policies. The protection of livestock in general is mentioned, for example, in Bulgaria’s Disaster Protection Act (2006),23 which refers to “temporary evacuation of persons, domestic animals or livestock” and “providing food and temporary shelter to victims of disaster, domestic animals and livestock” and Viet Nam’s Law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control (2013),24 under which basic provisions for dealing with droughts and seawater intrusions include “adjusting the structures of plants, animals and crops based on forecasts, warnings and developments of drought and seawater intrusion” and for disasters associated with cold weather include “ensuring sufficient feed for livestock.”

Looking beyond the survey results, most national policies on disasters and emergencies make no specific references to the protection of animals from the effects of disasters. Exceptions include Uganda’s National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management, which includes measures related to the provision of emergency feed supplies during droughts, as well as to the control of cattle rustling and disease epidemics.25 Nepal’s National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management includes among its priorities for action the establishment of a monitoring system for crops and livestock in high-risk areas and improvements to animal feed storage systems and animal shelters (Government of Nepal, 2009). India’s Standard Operating Procedure for Responding to Natural Disasters refers to the need to “devise appropriate measures to protect animals and find means to shelter and feed them during disasters and their aftermath” (Government of India, 2010). India has taken a number of initiatives in this field in recent years. In 2013, the country’s National Disaster Management Authority co-organized an event entitled “National Conference on Animal Disaster Management – Animals Matter in Disasters” with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (NDMA, 2013). A model district disaster management plan developed for the Madhubani district of Bihar, and published in 2013, includes detailed plans for action by the Animal and Fisheries Department and by local livestock management committees, covering emergency actions such as rescue and evacuation of animals and the provision of veterinary care, fodder and water, as well as livestock-related risk-reduction activities (DDMA, 2013).

4Animal disease epidemics

This subsection updates the discussion on animal disease epidemics as threats to AnGR diversity presented in the first SoW-AnGR. Epidemics share some of the features of other kinds of disaster and emergency (see Subsection 3). They have the potential to kill large numbers of animals in a short period of time. They are a particular threat to breed populations that are concentrated within a limited geographical area. They often trigger a burst of activity on the part of national authorities and these responses can in themselves sometimes be a threat to AnGR. However, unlike many other kinds of disaster and emergency, in the case of an epidemic, livestock are not marginal to response efforts. They are the main focus of attention. Concretely, the acute threat associated with disease epidemics is that large numbers of animals, potentially a large proportion of a given breed population, will die, either directly because of the effects of the disease or because of a culling programme implemented to control the disease.

Other things being equal, large epidemics (affecting a large number of animals and a wide geographical area) pose a greater threat to AnGR than smaller epidemics. Likewise, epidemics that produce a high mortality rate in the affected areas pose a greater threat. Culling campaigns can be particularly problematic in this respect because, if carried out thoroughly, they kill 100 percent of the animals of the relevant species in the area designated for the cull. However, certain diseases, African swine fever, for example, produce very high mortality rates even if there is no culling.

While the effects of large-scale epidemics are likely to be the most serious, the potential threat from epidemics that are relatively limited in terms of the size of the area they affect and the mortality rates they produce should not be overlooked. For an at-risk breed or a breed that is close to falling into an at-risk category, the death of a few thousand, a few hundred or even a few tens of animals can be devastating.

During the decade preceding the publication of the first SoW-AnGR there were a number of extremely serious epidemics in various parts of the world, several of which resulted in the deaths of millions or hundreds of thousands of animals.26 In many cases, the number of culled animals was far larger than the number of deaths caused by the disease itself. During the period since 2007, while there have been no incidents on quite the same scale in terms of livestock deaths as the United Kingdom foot-and-mouth disease epidemic of 2001 or the avian influenza outbreaks that struck parts of Southeast Asia in 2003/2004, disease epidemics have continued to inflict enormous losses on the livestock sector. In terms of shifts in the distribution of major epidemic diseases with the potential to devastate livestock populations, one of the most worrying recent developments has been the spread of African swine fever into the Caucasus and the Russian Federation (FAO, 2012b).

The effect of climate change on the distribution of animal diseases is an area of study that is receiving increasing attention. Vector-borne and waterborne diseases are the most likely to be affected (World Bank, 2014). Given the high mortality rates associated with some of these diseases, it is possible that shifts in disease distribution driven by climate change could pose a threat to AnGR. However, because of the potential for complex interactions between the climate and pathogens, vectors, host animals and other ecosystem components, in addition to the effects of a range of human activities that may increase or decrease the likelihood that a disease will spread to a new area, it is generally difficult to predict how severe such effects are likely to be (FAO, 2011a; 2013c). Nonetheless, some attempts have been made to predict outlooks for specific diseases in the context of climate change (World Bank, 2014). It is argued that conducting studies of this kind is “important when building long-term disease mitigation plans as it provides a framework for governments to invest in research in order to reduce uncertainties and to develop disease mitigation efforts” (ibid.). Early warning systems for individual outbreaks of climatesensitive diseases are likely to become increasingly necessary and a number of such systems are reported to be under development (ibid.). One disease that is causing some concern as a potential threat to AnGR in Europe is bluetongue, which appeared in northern Europe for the first time in 2006 (European Commission, 2013).

As discussed above, diseases and disease management featured prominently among the factors reported by countries as causes of genetic erosion, particularly in the case of African countries (see Table 1F2). In many cases, it is not clear whether these reports refer to the acute effects of epidemics or to the more general effects of disease problems as constraints to livestock-keeping livelihoods. Few countries provide examples of specific breed populations that have been severely affected by disease outbreaks. However, the report from Latvia notes that an outbreak of swine brucellosis led to the death of more than half the sows belonging to the Latvian White breed. The report from Botswana includes the following comment on the effects of post-epidemic restocking:

“Disease outbreaks in certain zones have led to mass slaughter of animals … This reduces population size and also affects … diversity since restocking has to be done using animals from other zones. Furthermore, … the restocking exercise brings in improved animals not indigenous ones which are adaptable to the local production environment. This … was … evident in North East District where 25 000 sheep and goats (mostly indigenous) were replaced by crossbreds and exotic breeds.”

More general effects on AnGR management are noted in the country report from Mauritius: an African swine fever epidemic in 2007 is reported to have wiped out 70 percent of the country’s pig population. A relaunch programme based on the importation of exotic breeds reportedly led to indiscriminate cross-breeding and the production of poor-quality piglets. Further action on the part of the government was then required in order to rectify the problem.

The first SoW-AnGR noted that there had been some recognition of the potential need to protect rare or valuable breed populations from the effects of compulsory culling measures, for example in some European Union legislation. However, it also noted that the success of any attempts to “rescue” breed populations in affected areas once an epidemic had begun were likely to depend heavily on a high level of advanced planning. While there have been some initiatives in this field over recent years (see for example Box 1F16), the evidence provided in the country reports, the responses to the survey on legal and policy measures conducted by FAO in 2013 (see Part 3 Section F) and the reports received from international organizations27 suggest that, overall, progress has been limited. As in the case of other types of disaster, the establishment of back-up ex situ conservation measures is an important means of reducing the risk of total extinction as a result of a disease outbreak.

5Conclusions

Information on threats to AnGR diversity remains far from complete. As discussed in Part 1 Section B, the risk status of the majority of breeds is classified as “unknown” and even where population trends are monitored detailed assessments of threats to specific breeds are not common. It is therefore difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding the relative significance of different threats, particularly given that in most cases a range of interacting factors are likely to be involved. It is also difficult to determine whether particular threats have become more or less prominent during the period since the first SoW-AnGR was prepared. Country-reporting exercises during the intervening years (the second SoW-AnGR reporting process and the 2012 assessment of progress in implementing the Global Plan of Action) have highlighted the role of indiscriminate cross-breeding as a major problem, particularly in developing countries. Many countries consider that the weakness of their AnGR management programmes, policies and institutions constitutes a threat in its own right. As described in Part 3 of this report, there is ample scope for improvements in these fields, and in many countries strengthening institutions and improving breeding policies and strategies are likely to be prerequisites for tackling the problem of indiscriminate cross-breeding.

Economic and market-related factors are also frequently highlighted by stakeholders as threats to AnGR. The most direct threat to the survival of many breeds is that they can no longer be raised profitably because of some shift in market demand or increase in the level of competition from other breeds, species or non-livestock sources. Shifts of this kind are an inevitable part of social and economic change and thus there are always likely to be some breeds that are at risk of declining towards extinction if no action is taken. In some cases, it may be necessary either to intervene directly to maintain the breed through in situ or ex situ conservation measures or to accept that it may become extinct. However, there may also be measures that can be taken to reduce economic threats either by “valorizing” individual at-risk breeds via marketing initiatives, genetic improvement or the identification of new roles, or by more general policy interventions such as eliminating support measures that create economic incentives for breed replacement.

Given the major roles of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists in maintaining AnGR diversity, factors that undermine the sustainability of smallholder and pastoralist production systems constitute significant threats to AnGR. These threats include both market-related factors and problems related the degradation of (or lack of access to) natural resources. Given the importance of livestock keeping to the livelihoods of many of the world’s poorest people and the major significance of livestock keeping areas (e.g. grasslands) in the provision of ecosystem services (carbon sequestration, water cycling, provision of wildlife habitats, etc.), the sustainable development of these production systems is clearly a challenge that extends beyond the immediate field of AnGR management. Balancing different objectives is unlikely to be easy. However, there may be scope for synergies in efforts to promote AnGR-management, livelihood and environmental objectives.

Concerns about climate change have increased yet further since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared. Some countries report that they have already experienced climate-driven changes in AnGR management, including species substitutions. However, it remains difficult to predict how climate change will affect the future of livestock production and what the consequences will be for AnGR diversity. The uncertainty of climatic projections is a major constraint, but on the AnGR side there is also frequently a lack of adequate data on breeds’ characteristics, their distributions and their production environments.

Similarly, while it is expected that climate change will increase the frequency of extreme weather events, the extent that this poses an additional threat to AnGR is difficult to estimate. In general, information about the level of threat posed to AnGR by disasters and emergencies remains limited. Lack of information on breed distributions is again a constraint. In some countries, there appears to be increasing interest in disaster-management strategies for the livestock sector. As noted in the first SoW-AnGR, if anything is to be done to protect specific breed populations (e.g. at-risk breeds), it will require advanced planning and good knowledge of where the relevant herds and flocks are located. Given that in many disaster situations organizing rescue efforts for animals will be impractical, efforts should be made to establish appropriate ex situ conservation measures for any breeds that are identified as being under serious threat from disastrous events.

The extent of the threat posed to AnGR by animal disease epidemics is, likewise, difficult to estimate accurately. Disease and diseasemanagement measures, however, featured relatively prominently among causes of genetic erosion reported in the country reports, particularly among reports from African countries. These cases do not necessarily all refer to the threat posed by major epidemics that devastate breed populations in a short period of time. However, given the concentration of some breeds in limited geographical areas and the high mortality rates associated with some diseases, the acute threat from disease epidemics should not be ignored. The potential threat posed by compulsory culling campaigns was noted in the first SoW-AnGR. While there is some indication that awareness of this threat has increased, there is little evidence that governments have taken many practical steps towards the establishment of rescue procedures for at-risk breeds threatened in this way.

Threats to specific breeds often arise because of a combination of factors associated with the changing nature of livestock production systems and the particular vulnerabilities of the respective breeds. Improved understanding of breeds characteristics, their production environments and how they are used thus needs to be combined with better understanding of livestock-sector trends and the demands and constraints that these place on the use of particular types of AnGR. Strategic Priority 5 of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources calls, inter alia, for “assess [ment] of environmental and socio-economic trends that may require a medium and long-term policy revision in animal genetic resources management.”28 Assessments of this kind should help countries identify existing and upcoming threats to their AnGR and potentially also identify strategies for countering some of these threats.

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1For information on the country-reporting process, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages of this report.

2FAO, 2007a, page 72. The “South” in this context refers to the developing regions of the world.

3FAO, 2007a, page 156.

4Transboundary breeds are breeds that are present in more than one country. See Part 1 Section B for further discussion.

5FAO, 2007a, pages 117–120.

6Paragraph 32.

7FAO, 2007a, Box 95 (page 444).

8Part 5 Needs and challenges in animal genetic resources management (FAO, 2007a, pages 483–503).

9Predation was not mentioned in response to the question in the country-report questionnaire directly referring to the causes of genetic erosion and therefore does not feature in Table 1F2.

10Reports from international organizations are available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e03.htm.

11In 2011, “BushaLive”, a regional project (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) aiming to promote the conservation of the Busha, was chosen to receive funding under the Funding Strategy for the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (for more details, see http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/genetics/first_call.html).

13FAO, 2007a, Figure 36 (pages 120–121).

14Mortality rates in the event of an earthquake are closely correlated to building collapse. In contrast to mortality rates associated with hydrometeorological disasters, human earthquake mortality rates have been increasing globally in recent years.

15FAO, 2007b, Strategic Priority 10, Action 2.

16FAO, 2007b, Strategic Priority 23, Action 3.

18The global electronic disaster-risk maps produced by the Global Risk Data Platform (http://preview.grid.unep.ch/) might be useful in this respect. Data on disaster-related livestock deaths recorded in DesInventar (http://www.desinventar.org/) databases can also be displayed on maps at the level of within-country administrative areas. About 30 countries, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, are covered.

19Many national strategy documents can be accessed via the PreventionWeb website (http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/policies/) operated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

20Many laws and regulations on disaster management can be accessed via the Disaster Law Database operated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (http://www.ifrc.org/en/publications-and-reports/idrl-database/).

21Zakon o Živinoreji (ZŽiv) (available in Slovenian at http://tinyurl.com/o6o4pbw and in English at http://tinyurl.com/n2thv8c).

22PHÁPLỆNH GIỐNG VẬT NUÔI (Số: 16/2004/PL-UBTVQH11) (available in Vietnamese at http://www.moj.gov.vn/vbpq/Lists/Vn%20bn%20php%20lut/View_Detail.aspx?ItemID=19426 and in English at http://tinyurl.com/k6t74qu).

^23^Закон за защита при бедствия (available in Bulgarian at http://www.mi.government.bg/library/index/download/lang/bg/fileId/304 and in English at http://www.ifrc.org/docs/idrl/867EN.pdf).

24LUẬT PHÒNG, CHỐNG THIÊN TAI (Luật số: 33/2013/QH13) (available in Vietnamese at http://tinyurl.com/oyl48me and in English at http://tinyurl.com/kapdwca).

25A number of national policies treat animal disease epidemics as a class of disaster in their own right. Plans for dealing with epidemics are, of necessity, oriented towards the livestock sector. However, this does not necessarily mean that the sector receives any particular attention in the respective country’s plans for dealing with other kinds of disaster.

26FAO, 2007a, Table 40 (page 128).

27For details, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages.

28FAO, 2007b, Strategic Priority 5, Action 1.

Section G

Livestock diversity and human nutrition

1Introduction

Genetics has a major influence on the composition of animal-source foods (primary foods, such as meat, offal, milk and eggs, and products such as cheese and sausages). Foods obtained from different animal species differ, to varying degrees, in both their macronutrient and their micronutrient compositions. Nutrient composition is also affected by processing methods and, in the case of meat, is affected by the particular cut or part of the animal from which it comes. Meat from one species can contain more than twice as much fat as the equivalent cut from another species. For example, pork loin (taking the lean part of the cut into consideration) contains 2.2 g of fat/100 g edible portion on a fresh weight basis (EP), while the equivalent figure for beef loin is 5.1 g/100 g EP. The iron content of pork liver is 23.3 mg/100 g EP, while that of beef liver is less than 5 mg/100 g. Further examples are shown in Table 1G1.

This section focuses on the influence of genetics on the nutritional contents of raw primary animal-source foods. The first subsection below discusses the increasing interest in food biodiversity witnessed in recent years and the degree to which this trend has extended into the livestock sector.1 This is followed by a look at efforts that have been made to assemble and disseminate information on the topic and then by an overview of the state of knowledge regarding the potential significance for human nutrition of genetic influence on the composition of animal-source foods. The final subsection identifies some research priorities in this field.

2Growing interest in food biodiversity

While nutritional differences between foods obtained from the most widely used livestock species (cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep and goats) have been relatively well documented, less attention has been paid to foods obtained from other species and to differences between products obtained from different breeds within species. Recent years have, however, seen growing interest in food biodiversity. For example, in 2006, the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a framework for a cross-cutting initiative on bio-diversity for food and nutrition (CBD, 2006). In 2007, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture decided to integrate work on biodiversity and nutrition into its Multi-Year Programme of Work (FAO, 2007b). Food biodiversity in this context is defined as “food identified at the taxonomic level below the species level, and underutilized or wild species” (FAO, 2013a).

While work on food biodiversity is less advanced in animals than it is in plants, some studies have looked at nutritional differences between cattle milk and milk from “underutilized” species. For example, horse milk has been shown to be lower in fat than cattle milk. Moreover, the fatty-acid profile of milk from these two species is different, with horse milk being higher in total n-3 fatty acids. For human populations that have no access to essential n-3 fatty acids from fish (e.g. those in landlocked areas such as Mongolia), horse milk can potentially make an important contribution to meeting nutritional requirements. Horse milk has also been found to be more similar than cattle milk to human milk in terms of protein and lactose content, fatty-acid and protein profiles, and mineral content (which is fairly low); it can potentially therefore be regarded as a better food for human infants than cattle milk (Iacono et al., 1992; Malacarne et al., 2002, cited in WijesinhaBettoni and Burlingame, 2013).

Because of the confounding effects of factors such as management practices, it is more difficult to assess the influence of breed on the nutritional composition of animal-source foods than it is in the case of plant-source foods. The feed given to animals strongly influences meat, milk and egg composition, especially their fatty-acid composition (Woods and Fearon, 2009). Production system and the animal’s sex and its age and weight at slaughter also affect meat composition. Milk composition is affected both by the feed eaten by the animal and by its stage of lactation. It is also affected by the number of times the animal has given birth (parity), seasonal variation and the animal’s age and health. This shows that comparing findings from different studies is not straightforward, and this may be part of the reason why far fewer studies on breed-level effects on the nutrient composition of animal-source foods are available in the scientific literature than studies on effects at the cultivar and variety level in plants.

Most research on breed-level differences addresses economically significant production outcomes such as milk or meat yield, carcass composition and product quality, rather than differences in nutritional composition. However, some of the attributes investigated in such studies may be closely linked to compositional characteristics that are relevant to human nutrition. For example, intramuscular fat in meat cuts is positively associated with sensory properties such as juiciness, flavour and tenderness as perceived by consumers (Hocquette et al., 2010). The fat content of muscles and the fatty-acid composition of this fat also have nutritional implications (Sevane et al., 2014; Scollan et al., 2014; Scollan et al., 2006). Studies in various species, in both developed and developing countries, have shown the effect of breed on meat quality, both in terms of instrumental measurements (colour, water-holding capacity, collagen content, shear values, etc.) and in terms of sensorial attributes (tenderness, flavour, juiciness, etc.) (Chambaz et al., 2003; Dyubele et al., 2010; Jelenikova et al., 2008; Li et al., 2013; Muchenje et al., 2008; Sanudo et al.,1997).

Studies of potential breed-level differences in nutrient composition have often targeted the most widespread transboundary breeds. However, a few comparative studies have evaluated locally adapted breeds (Jayansan et al., 2013; Pavloski et al, 2013; Xie et al., 2012). Breed-level data on mineral and vitamin content are scarce. Hardly any review papers or meta-analyses that provide breed-level compositional data or analyse possible differences in nutrient values have been published.

3Filling the knowledge gap

FAO has contributed to filling the knowledge gap on biodiversity and nutrition by developing the FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Database for Biodiversity (BioFoodComp) (FAO, 2013b). The database includes data on several animal-source foods: milk from buffalo breeds and minor dairy species (273 food records, representing a total of 92 breeds) (Medhammar et al., 2012); and beef (213 food records, 49 breeds) (Barnes et al., 2012). Data on pork (253 food records, 110 breeds/geno-types) (Kerns et al., 2015; FAO, 2015) will be added to the next version of the database. BioFoodComp has become the most comprehensive global repository of nutrient values of foods described at breed level and foods from underutilized species.

As discussed above, multiple factors influence the composition of animal-source foods and it is therefore difficult to compare compositional data from the various studies used to populate the BioFoodComp database. The protein content in milk is very stable with respect to changes in animal nutrition and feeding practices; however, the fat content and fatty-acid composition of milk are strongly affected (Walker et al., 2004; Jenkins and McGuire, 2006; Laben, 1963), which complicates the interpretation of data related to these nutrients. Stage of lactation greatly influences both fat and protein content. An inverse trend to the lactation curve can generally be observed in most species, i.e. fat and protein contents are higher in early and late lactation and lower in mid lactation. Where beef is concerned, factors such as nutrition and genetics have less influence on protein content and amino acid profile, but it is recognized that micronutrient content, fat content and fatty-acid composition may be altered (Scollan et al., 2006; 2014). Genetic factors generally produce smaller differences in the fatty-acid composition of meat than dietary factors (De Smet et al., 2004; Shingfield, Bonnet and Scollan, 2013).

While potential confounding effects need to be borne in mind, it is interesting to note the breed-level differences in nutritional content recorded in BioFoodComp. Medhammar et al. (2012) report differences in milk composition for different buffalo, yak, horse and dromedary breeds. Fat and protein contents vary significantly between breeds, with differences of approximately 4 g fat and 2 g protein per 100 g milk between the highest and lowest values. Protein values for buffalo milk range from 2.7 g to 4.6 g/100 g, meaning a difference of more than 41 percent between the breeds with the highest and the lowest values. Large variations are also reported for mineral and vitamin contents. For example, calcium content is reported to differ by 73 mg/100 g between the breed with the lowest value, the Kuttanad Dwarf buffalo, and the breed with the highest value, the Egyptian buffalo. Differences between breeds, albeit smaller, are also recorded for horse milk (48 mg/100 g) and dromedary milk (15 mg/100 g). Table 1G2 presents a selection of milk-nutrient composition ranges for buffaloes, horses and dromedaries.

Data on beef and pork show between-breed differences in nutrient values for the same raw meat cut. Barnes et al. (2012) studied compositional data on beef from more than 30 different breeds published in BioFoodComp. Recorded fat values for the longissimus muscle range from 0.6 g to 16.0 g/100 g EP, with the lowest values reported for a Hereford–Friesian cross and highest for the Hanwoo. Value ranges for a selection of other nutrients are presented in Table 1G3. In pork, recorded fat content ranges from 0.7 g to 18.2 g fat per 100 g EP, the lowest value being from the Landrace and the highest from the Mangalitsa (Kerns et al., 2015; FAO, 2015). These variations affect the saturated and mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acid contents of the meat, as well as its cholesterol content. Hardly any data on mineral and vitamin composition are available for beef or pork.

4Potential significance for human nutrition

Animal-source foods are energy dense and are a rich source of protein, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids. The protein in these foods is considered to be of the highest quality because of its favourable amino-acid composition. Iron, zinc and vitamin A are the main micronutrients available in meat; calcium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin are provided in abundance by milk, which is however very low in iron. Compared to foods derived from plants, the bioavailability of these nutrients in animal-source foods is high, because of the presence of haeme-protein and the absence of phytates and fibre (Neumann et al., 2002).

The roles of animal-source foods in human nutrition have been widely discussed, including their roles in alleviating undernutrition and deficiencies that lead to poor growth, impaired mental development and ill health (e.g. Dror and Allen, 2011; Neumann et al., 2002; Neumann et al., 2010) and their beneficial and potential negative roles with respect to dietrelated non-communicable diseases (e.g. Weaver et al., 2013; Givens, 2010; McAfee et al., 2010).

Dietary fat receives a lot of attention with regard to its roles in the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular pathologies, cancer and type-2 diabetes (e.g. WHO/FAO, 2003; FAO, 2010). These diseases are becoming more common in both developed and developing countries (WHO/FAO, 2003). Emphasis has been placed on reducing the intake of total fat, saturated fatty acids (SFA – considered to be associated with increased LDL-cholesterol) and increasing the intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA – recognized to be protective against cardiovascular diseases and to play a beneficial role in terms of promoting general health). Dietary recommendations have been published for fatty-acid classes as well as for specific fatty acids (FAO, 2010).

Meat plays an important role in the diet of many populations, and although the general contribution of meat to fat supply in the human diet is low (less than 20 percent) (Culioli et al., 2003), identifying breeds whose products have beneficial fatty-acid profiles has the potential to contribute to healthier diets (e.g. Sevane et al., 2014). A comparison of beef from three breeds (Cuvelier et al., 2006) showed large between-breed differences in SFA content: Belgian Blue, Limousin and Aberdeen Angus, respectively, provided 2.2 percent, 6.2 percent and 9.2 percent of the recommended SFA intake. Large differences in n-3 PUFA content between these breeds were also reported.

In low-input systems, cross-breeding with exotic breeds can potentially lead to lower nutrient densities in milk, with potential consequences for human nutrition. Mapekula et al. (2011) report an instance of this effect in dairy cattle grazed on rangeland in South Africa and note that it may be related to the cross-bred animals having a lower capacity to convert poor-quality feed into milk protein.

Micronutrient malnutrition (i.e. vitamin and mineral nutritional deficiency) is very prevalent in developing countries. Milk is considered to be an important source of zinc for children at risk of micronutrient deficiencies (Neumann et al., 2002). Two cups (500 ml) of milk per day provide 24 to 72 percent of the recommended nutrient intake (RNI) of zinc for children in the one-year to three-year age group, depending on the species of the dairy animal (Table 1G4). Between-breed differences can be almost as large as those between species. For example, according to the figures presented in Table 1G2, two cups of milk from the Najdi breed of dromedary provide less than 50 percent of the zinc RNI per day for children in this age group, while the equivalent amount from the Majaheem breed provides more than 70 percent.

Findings on the vitamin C content of horse and dromedary milk are also interesting: while two cups of milk from the breeds whose milk has the lowest reported vitamin C content supply less than 50 percent of the RNI for children aged one to three years, the equivalent amount of milk from the breeds whose milk has the highest vitamin C content exceeds the RNI, with milk from the Palomino horse supplying 132 percent of the RNI and milk from the Arvana dromedary supplying 301 percent. The large amount of vitamin C in dromedary milk is recognized as being important in desert areas, where vegetables and fruits are scarce (Barłowska et al., 2011). Cattle milk, in contrast, is reported to be low in vitamin C.

5Research priorities

The composition of animal-source foods is influenced by a number of different factors. Some comparative studies that assess the effect of breed per se and identify nutritional differences by controlling for other factors have been undertaken. However, high-quality studies are lacking, i.e. studies that include all the necessary information on confounding factors and analytical methods used and, preferably, have a control group for comparison. Meta-analyses that enable sound conclusions to be drawn from results obtained in different studies are needed. There is also a need to expand the range of species and breeds targeted by nutritional composition studies. Studies often focus on a narrow range of nutrients that influence product quality. Research needs to target a wider range of nutrients of public-health concern, including studies on amino-acid composition and protein digestibility. Data on vitamin and mineral contents are particularly needed.

Given that there is evidence that breed influences the composition of animal-source foods, there is a need to:

  • obtain data on different breeds and their production environments, so as to be able to disentangle genetic and environmental factors;
  • generate, compile and disseminate more compositional data on animal-source foods from different breeds, especially locally adapted breeds;
  • further investigate evidence for the significance of species-and breed-level differences to human health by developing meta-analysis approaches and strategies for avoiding confounding effects (such as differences in nutritional habits other than consumption of meat and dairy products); and
  • take information on the composition of animal-source foods into account in nutrition and agricultural policies and programmes.

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1The inclusion of this section devoted to livestock diversity and human nutrition, for which there was no equivalent in the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a), is an indication of this growing interest.

Part 2

LIVESTOCK SECTOR TRENDS

Introduction

Livestock production systems are the context in which animal genetic resources (AnGR) are used and developed. As production systems change, new demands are placed upon AnGR, threats may arise and new opportunities for sustainable use may emerge. This part of the report reviews production system trends and their influence on AnGR management. It serves as an update of Part 2 of the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and focuses particularly on recent developments.

Section A discusses the major drivers of change in the global livestock sector. Section B considers how these trends are affecting different production systems. Section C, drawing mainly on the material provided in the country reports,1 looks at how AnGR management is being affected by production system trends and how this may change during the coming years. Section D offers some conclusions based on the analysis presented in the other sections.

1For further information on the reporting process, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages of this report.

Section A

Drivers of change in the livestock sector

1Introduction

The description of livestock-sector trends presented in the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a) focused on the period between 1980 and 2005, a time when the livestock sector was expanding, intensifying and scaling-up, as a result of drivers from both the demand and the supply sides. Demand-side drivers were particularly strong in developing countries, where consumption of animal-source food grew fastest. Consumption of meat, milk and eggs rose steadily in a number of developing countries as a result of growth in the human population and rising purchasing power. Growth rates were highest for poultry meat and pork, averaging 4.7 percent and 2.6 percent per year, respectively, between 1981 and 2007 (Alex-andratos and Bruinsma, 2012), with consumption growth in China making an important contribution. Growing urban populations, together with changes in consumer preference, resulted in greater demand for assured food safety and quality, and this led to additional certification requirements and costs. These developments favoured large-scale production and processing units. On the supply side, low and stable feed costs made it possible to expand intensive livestock production, while breeding technology produced animals that had high output potential and were adapted to intensive production. The period was also characterized by a growing volume and value of international trade in livestock products and feed, and the emerging dominance of large retailers.

By 2005, it was already evident that livestock-sector growth was slowing. Consumption growth was projected to slow (FAO, 2006), while rising energy costs and increasingly limited land and water resources meant that production growth was becoming ever more dependent on higher productivity from each unit of resources used. These challenges still exist. In addition, the supply-side advantage of cheap feed has disappeared as grain prices have risen and become more volatile. A global economic recession has affected consumption patterns among both poor and middle-class consumers. Concerns about live-stock’s contribution to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions (Steinfeld et al., 2006) are having an ever-increasing influence on livestock-sector policies and industry strategies. Epidemics of major livestock diseases have been a feature of the sector for decades and cause periodic disruption to the international trade on which the sector increasingly depends. All of these issues are explored in this section as it reviews the way that the drivers of change in the livestock sector have evolved in the eight or so years since the first SoW-AnGR was written.

2Changes in demand

Demand for animal-source products continues to grow, driven by growth in the human population and dietary changes associated with urbanization. Purchasing power was affected by the food-price crisis of 2007-2008, but is recovering. Projections indicate that the consumption of poultry meat and dairy products in particular will continue to increase. Each of these drivers is discussed in more detail in the following subsections.

2.1Consumption trends

Projections published in 2012 (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012) suggest that global meat and milk consumption will continue increasing until 2030 and beyond, although growth rates are expected to be slower than those in the past (Tables 2A1 and 2A2). Global growth of meat and milk consumption is projected to be 1.6 and 1.3 percent per year, respectively, in the 2007–2030 period, down from 2.5 and 1.6 percent in 1991–2007. There will be regional differences in these trends, with growth coming mainly from developing countries. Industrialized countries, which already have high levels of consumption of animal-source foods and where population growth is slow, are likely to see much slower growth in demand than developing countries, although their per capita consumption is expected to remain higher (Tables 2A1 to 2A3).

Meat consumption boomed between 1981 and 2007, but in most parts of the world growth in demand is slowing. In Latin America and East and Southeast Asia, annual growth in meat consumption is projected to decrease over time, reflecting economic trends, although still to remain higher than in industrial and transitional economies. In South Asia, meat consumption is predicted to grow faster than before, predominantly through increased consumption of chicken meat in India. Sub-Saharan Africa, which has previously experienced slower growth than other parts of the world, may become a new centre of consumption growth, with annual increases in meat consumption predicted to remain steady until 2050. However, given their dependence on trends in the gross national incomes of the region’s countries, consumption trends for Africa are difficult to predict precisely. Estimates by Acosta (2014) suggest that there is likely to be particularly high demand in Africa for milk, poultry meat and beef, although with some potential for cross-elasticity between poultry meat and beef, meaning that a strong demand for poultry may suppress growth in demand for beef.

The poultry sector has been the most buoyant part of the livestock sector in the past few decades and this is likely to continue. Poultry are efficient feed converters (of grains) and hence poultry meat tends to be cheaper than other meats, whether bought or home-produced. Chicken meat and other poultry products are also very widely consumed across regions and religious and social groups. Growth in global pork consumption, which has been leading the growth of meat consumption jointly with poultry, is heavily influenced by trends in China, where growth in demand is predicted to slow (OECD/FAO, 2014). Conversely, increasing poultry consumption is a worldwide phenomenon. Per capita demand for poultry meat is projected to increase by 271 percent in South Asia, 116 percent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 97 percent in the Middle East and North Africa and 91 percent in East Asia and the Pacific during the 2000 to 2030 period (Table 2A3). Evolution of per capita demand for poultry in India is striking, with a predicted increase of 577 percent between 2000 and 2030. Poultry meat is also the animal-source food with the highest demand growth in high-income countries, where per capita demand for beef and mutton is expected to decrease.

Milk consumption has grown more slowly than meat consumption, except in South Asia. Over the period 1991 to 2007, global milk consumption grew by 1.6 percent per year (Table 2A2), mainly due to a surge in demand for milk in China and India. In India, per capita demand for milk is expected to increase by 57 percent between 2007 and 2030 according to one projection (Table 2A3); another estimate suggests that consumption of fresh milk will reach 170 kg per capita in 2023 (OECD/FAO, 2014). Herrero et al. (2014) estimate that milk consumption is likely to triple by 2050 in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly led by East Africa. The overall effect is that global consumption of milk is projected to grow slightly faster between 2007 and 2030 than it did between 1981 and 2007 (Table 2A2), with steady annual growth to 2050 in Africa and a decreasing rate of growth in the rest of the world.

2.2Purchasing power

Purchasing power is considered the main demand-side driver for livestock products. Lower-and middle-income consumers have a strong influence on consumption trends, as the effect of increased income on diets is greatest in this group (Delgado et al., 2002; Devine, 2003). Increasing incomes in developing countries were an important driver of the boom in consumption of livestock products, particularly meat.

Poultry and dairy products have been found to have higher income elasticities of demand than other animal-source foods, meaning that consumption levels are more responsive to income; this effect is particularly strong in low-income populations (OECD/FAO, 2014; Gerosa and Skoet, 2012). At a fixed income, the prices of livestock products affect consumption levels. The lower price of poultry meat relative to beef has led to a shift from beef to poultry consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean, and generally in the world (CEPAL, FAO and IICA, 2014). The food-price crisis of 2007-2008 had a significant impact on demand for dairy products, but consumption is recovering due to increasing incomes and changing lifestyles (Gerosa and Skoet, 2012). Prices of other sources of animal protein also affect demand for livestock products. For instance, future demand for meat could be affected by more competitive fish prices (FAO, 2011b).

It is hardly surprising that consumption of poultry meat and dairy products is projected to continue growing. As well as being the most income-elastic animal-source foods, they are often cheaper than other livestock products and are also the most likely to be produced for home consumption by smallholder farmers.

2.3Demographic changes and urbanization

The world population is predicted to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, i.e. 2.5 billion more than in 2013 (United Nations, 2014). While population growth is expected to decelerate in many regions, strong growth is expected in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently accounting for 13 percent of the total world population, this region is anticipated to account for 23 percent in 2050. As discussed above (Subsection 2.1), per capita consumption of poultry products is expected to increase in this region, reversing a decline in previous decades (FAO, 2009a).

Urbanization was noted in the first SoW-AnGR as the second main factor, after purchasing power, influencing per capita consumption of animal products. It also affects consumer preferences for particular types of animal products (see further discussion below). Since 2007, the world’s urban population has surpassed the rural population. It is expected to increase from 54 percent of the world total in 2013 to 66 percent in 2050 (United Nations, 2014). Urbanization leads to a shift from cereal-based diets to energy-dense diets that include a higher proportion of animal-source food. Diets can be expected to change substantially in Africa and Asia, where urbanization is fastest. In India, a country undergoing strong urbanization, per capita consumption of dairy products was estimated to be 20 percent higher in urban areas than in rural areas in 2009-2010 (Ahuja, 2013). Urban dwellers who can afford it are likely to eat a wider variety of foods than people in rural areas, and to eat more processed food and fast food. These tend to be sourced from large-scale producers where possible, because it is easier for food retail companies to manage supply and quality from fewer, larger farms. Urbanization also leads to improvements in infrastructure and cold chains, meaning that perishable goods, such as fresh milk, can be transported further (Thornton, 2010).

While urban populations are on average richer than those in rural areas, there are still very large numbers of low-income urban families who are vulnerable to economic recession. During the food-price crisis of 2007-2008, when world prices of cereal staples rose by three to five times, the poor in many large cities cut back on food consumption and ate less animal-source food (FAO, 2011b). Current projections for consumption growth will be affected by any future volatility in the global economy.

2.4Consumer taste and preference

Consumption preferences are affected by a variety of cultural factors and life choices. Cultural factors influence decisions as to whether to eat meat or whether to eat meat from particular species; one of the reasons for the boom in poultry consumption may be that it is acceptable in almost every society that eats meat. Cultural norms can also be related to food safety. Many consumers in developing countries prefer to eat meat from animals bought live at the market and slaughtered on the day of consumption, as where there is no reliable refrigeration or obligatory labelling this is the most dependable way of ensuring the safety and quality of the meat. Preferences are not static and are affected by demographic change. Many developing-country consumers prefer the taste of meat from traditional breeds kept extensively, but tastes are changing as middle-class urban households increasingly opt for the convenience of supermarket-purchased meat from intensive production systems.

Meat and milk consumption in developed countries is increasingly affected by concerns about healthy diets, the environmental impacts of livestock production and animal-welfare issues. These concerns drive both trends and shocks in consumption and may sometimes pull in opposite directions. For example, the shift from red meat to poultry meat in high-income countries is partly explained by health concerns, as poultry is perceived to be low in fat (OECD/FAO, 2014); yet during the highly pathogenic avian influenza crisis of 2003 to 2006, demand for poultry meat experienced a short, sharp drop in Italy when consumers feared they might be infected (McLeod, 2008; Beach et al., 2008). Concerns about animal welfare led to a European Union (EU)-wide ban on conventional battery cages for laying hens in 2012, which resulted in an increase in the number of free-range birds in some countries.

Concerns about health issues and food quality are increasing in developing countries due to higher purchasing power and changing lifestyles (Jabbar et al., 2010) and this is already changing the livestock industry, with more standards and norms applied to production and processing (Hoffmann et al., 2014). Thornton (2010) notes that animal welfare is becoming a global concern because of globalization and international trade. In 2013, concerns about animal welfare led the Australian livestock industry to suspend live exports to Egypt. In 2014, exports resumed under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), which places responsibility on exporters to guarantee animal welfare throughout the entire supply chain (Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, 2014).

Population growth alone may not significantly change the structure of the livestock sector, provided that the ratio of producers to consumers does not change. In contrast, changes in consumption patterns are likely to affect sector structure. FAO (2011a) analysed the relative impacts of population growth and changing consumption patterns on total consumption and predicted, for example, that 78 percent of demand growth for poultry meat in China and 68 percent in India would come from increased consumption per capita (Figure 2A1). It is expected that India will respond to growth in demand for poultry by increasing domestic production from large farms, and this implies restructuring of the poultry industry.

3Changes in trade and retailing

As demand for animal-source food has increased worldwide and advances in technology have made their transport easier, international trade and the role of large retailers have increased, creating a situation in which an increasing number of livestock producers face global competition. Some developing-country producers face high production costs because they have to import feed, and this reduces their competitiveness. Likewise, some processors are unable to invest on the scale needed to be competitive. Many smallholders and pastoralists face particular problems because they cannot meet the standards and norms required in order to sell their products to large retailers and international markets, and yet they face competition from imported products on their domestic markets. Vertical integration in the market chains controlled by large companies limits the access of smallholders to growing urban and export markets.

3.1Flows of livestock and their products

Animal products and live animals for slaughtering or breeding are traded on international and domestic markets. Domestic trade accounts for almost 90 percent of recorded trade by volume – and probably a larger percentage of total trade, given that many local transactions in developing countries are unrecorded. However, international trade is expanding: from 4 percent of trade by volume in the early 1980s to around 10 percent in 2007 and 12 percent in 2013 (Guyomard et al., 2013). Large companies dominate market chains in developed countries and are becoming increasingly important in developing countries in terms of both international trade and inward investment.

International trade in live animals and livestock products is expected to keep growing (Figure 2A2). Trade in dairy products is expected to increase, while the proportion of meat traded is anticipated to remain at around 10 percent of production (OECD/FAO, 2014). Bovine meat, which has the highest value, is the most traded meat, with about 15.8 percent of production being traded (ibid.).

Flow patterns of live animals and animal products are evolving. Live-animal exports are constrained by animal-health regulations, even more so than trade in livestock products, and by high transport costs. The most internationally traded live animals are day-old chicks, sent between large producers all over the world, and ruminants, exported from Australia and the Horn of Africa to the Middle East for halal slaughter. The latter may be restricted in the future because of animal welfare concerns. High-value breeding animals and their semen are also traded internationally (for further information see Part 1 Section C). In Africa and Southeast Asia, animals travel across national borders for slaughter in adjacent countries, not all of them officially recorded. However, this trade can be abruptly disrupted by livestock disease outbreaks and changes in animal-health regulations.

Dairy exports are still dominated by a few developed countries, namely Australia, European Union (EU) countries, New Zealand and the United States of America. However, Argentina, Belarus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Ukraine export significant amounts of cheese to neighbouring countries, and India is expected to increase its skim milk powder exports. In Latin America and the Caribbean, dairy exports may remain limited; for example, exports from Argentina are projected to decrease by 9 percent in the next ten years (CEPAL, FAO and IICA, 2014).

Meat exports from developing countries are expected to gain market share relative to those from developed countries (Figure 2A2). A few large countries have the largest market shares. Brazil and Argentina dominate beef and veal exports jointly with Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. Brazil and the United States of America account for around 70 percent of global exports of poultry meat (Guyomard et al., 2013). India is consolidating its buffalo-meat exports, with a highly competitive sector (OECD/FAO, 2014). The EU’s position as a meat exporter has weakened in recent years because of high production costs and a strong euro and may weaken further (ibid.).

A wider range of countries have become importers of livestock products, and with consumption remaining higher than production in many developing countries imports are expected to grow. Between 2005/2007 and 2050, meat imports to Africa are predicted to increase from 0.9 million tonnes to around 5 million tonnes and milk imports from 5.7 million tonnes to 10.2 million tonnes (World Bank, 2014). The proportion of consumption in Africa accounted for by imports is anticipated to reach around 15 percent for beef and 21 percent for poultry meat by 2030 (ibid.).

An important feature of international trade is that many developing countries are, or have the potential to be, both importers and exporters of livestock products – and both types of trade affect the development of their livestock sectors. Export is a costly process, with average bound tariffs1 for meat varying from 82 to 106 percent in OECD countries and from 68 to 75 percent in non-OECD countries (Steinfeld et al., 2010). Exporters therefore aim to sell their highest-quality products to premium markets in developed countries, or if that is not possible, to target regional markets with high demand, such as South Africa and China. Developed countries place strict animal-health requirements on imports and the main regional markets are also becoming increasingly demanding in this respect. Premium markets also tend to have strict requirements for quality and certification. If export is prioritized in national strategies, this tends to accelerate concentration and scaling-up and to exclude smallholders. This effect is particularly marked in the poultry-meat sector (see Box 2A2 for example). Exclusion can also occur if a disease-free zone created for export restricts the access of smallholders’ animals to seasonal grazing or local markets. Where imports are concerned, a strategy of inward investment by large retailers, often in response to demand in growing cities, can also prove to be exclusionary. Supermarkets and fast-food businesses source their food products from a combination of international and domestic markets, but may impose requirements that make it hard for smallholders to supply them. Importation of livestock products can also, and separately, introduce competition when large exporting countries sell the products that are less preferred in premium markets cheaply into developing-country markets. This may not necessarily affect smallholders; it is more likely to be detrimental to small- and medium-sized commercial producers.

While exchanges of livestock products and live animals are growing, trade is becoming more challenging. One of the consequences of globalization has been a large number of protectionist policies. While in recent years there has been a general tendency towards liberalization of world trade, restrictive measures continue to be applied to animal products (WTO, 2011; 2014). As a consequence, bilateral and multilateral agreements between countries are increasingly being used. These agreements aim to preserve sanitary standards while reducing tariff barriers. For instance, in December 2013, Australia and the Republic of Korea announced a free-trade agreement including elimination of high tariffs on Australian agricultural exports such as dairy products and meat (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2013). In the same year, the EU and Canada signed an agreement aimed at promoting trade in bovine and pig meat (Government of Canada, 2013). Such arrangements have the potential to further distance smallholders from export markets.

3.2The rise of large retailers and vertical coordination along the food chain

As discussed in the first SoW-AnGR, supermarkets have spread all over the world. In the developing world, this has mainly occurred since the early 1990s. Supermarkets and large food companies have established vertically integrated production and marketing chains involving contracts with farmers who meet their quality and sanitary standards. This enables them to reduce transaction costs. The private sector is increasingly investing in livestock production systems (Gerber et al., 2010).

Meeting quality and sanitary demands is challenging, especially for smallholders in developing countries. Concerns about the exclusion of smallholders in Africa are rising, as supermarkets require frequent supplies and demand quality standards that small-scale producers may not be able to meet (Tschirley et al., 2010). However, it is possible to involve smallholders in changing markets, particularly in the case of dairy products. Development projects and large retailers have invested in engaging small-scale producers in dairy-product market chains, providing advice on animal health, feeding practices, breeding and in some cases quality assurance (Gerber 2010; FAO, 2013d). In Bangladesh, a well-organized contract-farming system involves large numbers of small-scale farmers in commercial poultry production (FAO, 2013a).

4Changing natural environment

In the context of increasing demand for food and ever greater competition for land and other resources, there are growing concerns about the sustainability of livestock production systems and their impacts on the environment.

4.1Climate change

Concerns about climate change, already prevalent at the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared, have deepened still further over recent years (FAO, 2009b; Nardone et al., 2010; IPCC, 2014). Livestock production systems are experiencing the effects of changes in precipitation, temperature and increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Changes of this kind can affect livestock production both directly and indirectly (e.g. by affecting feed production) (Table 2A4). The potential impacts of heat stress on livestock include temperature-related illness and death, as well as declines in production and reproductive ability (Nardone et al., 2010). Extreme weather events threaten rangelands, as well as feed production for non-grazing systems. They can pose a direct threat to the survival of livestock populations caught in their paths (see Part 1 Section F for further discussion). They can also have significant effects on livestock markets (OECD/FAO, 2014).

4.2Pressure on land and other natural resources

There is increasing pressure on land and other natural resources as a result of developments in agricultural production systems as well as urbanization and industrial development. These pressures are being exacerbated by climate change. The livestock sector accounts for approximately 3.9 billion hectares of land, divided into 500 million hectares used for feed-crop production, 1.4 billion hectares of relatively highly productive pastures and 2 billion hectares of relatively unproductive extensive pastures (Steinfeld et al., 2010). The evolution of land use varies from region to region. Between 1961 and 2001, both arable lands and pastures expanded in Asia, North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, while arable lands replaced pastures in Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa. In the Baltic states and the Commonwealth of Independent States, lands dedicated to pastures expanded, while croplands decreased; in western and eastern Europe and in North America, both pasture and arable land decreased (Steinfeld et al., 2010). In some parts of the world, notably Africa, land degradation as a result of overgrazing added to pressures on the land resource. Between 2000 and 2010, the area under pasture grew at the expense of arable land in North America, whereas it decreased in the Southwest Pacific and in Asia (Table 2A5).

Water and fossil fuels are also finite and in high demand. Competition for these resources, a concern for the past decade, is anticipated to get stronger in the future. Developments of this kind lead to high prices for feed and energy and raise the costs of livestock production. A recent response to fossil-fuel scarcity has been the introduction of government incentives for the development of biofuel production. This may affect the livestock sector, as crops used for feed have begun to be used for biofuel production. For instance, policies in the United States of America have led to a surge in the use of maize, one of the main livestock feeds, for bioethanol production (Miljkovic et al., 2012). The availability of by-products from the bioethanol industry and shifts towards new feeds may, however, diminish the negative effects of biofuel production on the livestock sector (FAO, 2012a).

Feed availability and price volatility are becoming major issues. In Asia, the amount of feed protein required by the poultry and pig sectors is anticipated to double between 2009 and 2020 (Ahuja, 2013). This represents a major challenge, especially given that Asia already experiences chronic shortages of feed (ibid.).

4.3Distribution of livestock diseases and parasites

The distribution of diseases and parasites and the emergence of new diseases are expected to continue evolving, influenced by high livestock densities, international trade, human travel and climate change. It has been argued that these drivers have led to a “booming era of emerging infectious disease” (Bouley et al., 2014). Precise developments are difficult to predict. Climate change, for example, has the potential to affect all the components of disease systems, i.e. pathogens, hosts and vectors. However, it is difficult to clearly distinguish the effects of climate change from those of other drivers (FAO, 2013b). Problems related to emerging diseases and the spread of diseases and parasites into new areas are potentially exacerbated by the spread of antibiotic resistance and resistance to treatments used against parasites and disease vectors.

5Advances in technology

Advances in technology (e.g. those related to feeding, breeding, housing, transportation and marketing) have been major drivers of change in the livestock sector in recent decades. Feeding and breeding have been crucial, particularly in the poultry, pig and dairy industries. However, these developments have mainly been undertaken by the private sector and aimed at (relatively large-scale) commercial producers; they are therefore relatively less available to – and applicable for use by – smallholders than the technologies that led to the “green revolution” in the crop sector (FAO, 2009a).

5.1Feed technology

Feed-use efficiencies have substantially improved in the pig, poultry and dairy industries. Moreover, low feed prices, resulting mainly from intensification of croplands and advances in feed production and genetics, have contributed to the rapid growth of the livestock sector. However, feed prices – including the prices of cereals, oil-seeds and meat and fish meals – have increased sharply since 2008, and are expected to remain high because of increasing demand, land competition, water scarcity, high energy prices and climate change. Increases in feed prices particularly affect developing countries, as they are deficient in feed resources and their livestock sectors are generally dependent on feed imports. This, along with decreasing availability of arable land and increasing food–feed competition, has led to a reassessment of feeding practices and search for new protein- and energy-rich feed resources that do not compete with human food (FAO, 2012b). Potential options include insects (FAO, 2013c; Makkar et al., 2014), co-products of the biofuel industry, including algae (FAO, 2012a), ensiled vegetable and fruit wastes (Wadhwa and Bakshi, 2013) and other unconventional feed resources such as moringa and mulberry leaves. A variety of different insect larvae may be suitable for processing into animal feed, and could potentially replace 25 to 100 percent of the soymeal or fishmeal in the diet – depending on the animal species – with some supplementation with methionine, lysine and calcium (Makkar et al., 2014).

To promote more efficient use of available feed resources, greater emphasis is now being placed on resource assessments and characterizing feeding systems at national level (Makkar and Ankers, 2014). Other strategies include greater use of precision or balanced feeding, identification and use of smart feeding options (Makkar, 2013) and efforts to decrease feed wastage by using densified complete crop residue based feed blocks or pellets and total mixed rations instead of feeding individual feed components (FAO, 2012c).

5.2Genetics and reproductive biotechnologies

Reproductive technologies, such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer and more recently sex-sorted semen, have been extensively used in the poultry, pig and dairy industries in developed countries (see Part 3 Section E). Molecular and quantitative genetics have provided new opportunities in animal breeding (see Part 4 Section C). Conversely, cloning and the use of genetically modified animals have been limited due to social and ethical concerns and problems with the efficiency of the procedures. Genetically modified livestock are used in research and in the production of proteins for medical purposes.

Use of genetics to improve productivity has been particularly prominent in the poultry industry, where high reproductive rates and short generation intervals have allowed rapid improvements in feed efficiency and growth rates using classical animal-breeding methods based on quantitative genetics (FAO, 2009a). In dairy cattle, the use of artificial insemination has allowed the wide diffusion of semen from a limited number of bulls with accurately estimated breeding values and has resulted in significant genetic progress. While the main focus of genetic improvement programmes has been on increasing production, increasing emphasis is now being given to functional traits influencing the costs of production. In the future, selection goals are likely to take other traits, such as disease resistance and environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions, increasingly into account.

Newly developed biotechnologies offer many opportunities to improve selection, but have the potential to create certain risks (e.g. compromised food safety and animal welfare) and thus need to be regulated by adequate institutional frameworks. Some relevant national and international legal and policy frameworks have been established (see Part 3 Section F), but adequate provisions are not in place in all countries.

5.3Animal-health technology

Animal-health technologies such as vaccines, antibiotics and diagnostic tools have supported the growth of the livestock sector by reducing the burden of diseases. However, livestock diseases continue to be a problem for both small-scale and large-scale producers. Effective control of existing diseases and emerging problems will require better and more accessible diagnostic tests (Thornton, 2010) and continued development of vaccines and drugs, as well as packaging and distribution networks that make technologies more accessible to farmers. Technology alone will not be sufficient to deal with future animal-health problems; continued investment in the infrastructure and human capacity of animal-health systems in developing countries is also needed. Moreover, the need to respond to crises has meant that chronic and endemic diseases have been neglected, particularly in smallholder and pastoralist livestock systems in developing countries (FAO, 2013b). The critical need for smallholders and pastoralists is not new technology, but animal and public health systems that are more embedded in communities.

In developed countries, the potential effects of antimicrobial resistance on public health are causing increasing concern (Rushton et al., 2014). Improved surveillance in the livestock sector is needed; the latest World Health Organization report on this issue (WHO, 2014) notes the existence of significant gaps in data on antibiotic resistance in bacteria carried by livestock and in the food chain.

5.4Future technologies

In vitro meat, also referred to as artificial meat, is currently under development and may be a contributor to the meat supply in the future, although its use will probably be limited to processed products. It has not yet been produced in a form suitable for commercial use and is very expensive (FAO, 2011b). Another technology that may affect the livestock sector in the future is nanotechnology (Thornton, 2010). This technology can be applied in animal health (e.g. drug delivery), feeding and waste management. However, as with many technologies, risks need to be assessed and addressed via appropriate legal and policy frameworks.

6Policy environment

The first SoW-AnGR described public policies as “forces that add to the drivers described above and influence changes in the sector with the aim of achieving a particular set of societal objectives.” Public policies aim to expose, contain and mitigate the hidden costs of an expanding livestock sector, including those associated with environmental degradation, livelihood disruption and threats to veterinary and human public health.

Veterinary and public health concerns have been strongly regulated internationally since the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement of the World Trade Organization was established in 1995, and this high level of regulation can be expected to continue in the future. The agreement was developed, by negotiation between the main trading nations at the time, to protect national livestock and human populations from the most infectious livestock, zoonotic and foodborne diseases. It has been argued that SPS standards act as a barrier to export from developing countries. They have certainly been influential in shaping the livestock sector and its trade flows; for example, in 2009, almost 70 percent of world trade in animals and meat from species susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease came from a small number of countries that were officially recognized as free of the disease by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) or historically recognized to be disease free (OECD/FAO, 2009).

Regulations are evolving in ways that may be beneficial for developing countries. Historically, it was only possible to export to premium markets from countries or geographical zones that were free of disease. All producers living within disease-free countries or zones had to adhere to the same regulations, even if they did not intend to export. Within the past ten years, two new concepts have been introduced into the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code (OIE, undated). “Compartmentalization” in essence permits export from a certified value chain. “Commodity-based trade”, more recently introduced into international guidelines, permits products assessed as being of minimum risk to be exported, even if they come from countries where disease is present. Both concepts introduce the potential for export trade to be developed in parallel with the provision of support to smallholder farming and pastoralism, although no impact assessments based on practical experience have yet been published.

International policies and regulations on the environment are a more recent phenomenon for the livestock sector and less clear-cut than the SPS agreement. An international agreement on conservation and management of marine fish stocks has been in place since 1995, but moves towards the development of international agreements on sustainable livestock production began only relatively recently. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources was adopted in 2007 (FAO, 2007b) and concerns about the links between livestock and climate change are stimulating further interest in international environmental agreements addressing the livestock sector. An increasing number of public and private discussion fora are now playing an important role in shaping international norms and agreements, including the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock,2 spearheaded by FAO. Issues being explored include the management of grazing livestock to provide environmental services, including the improvement of carbon markets so that individual livestock keepers can more easily benefit from them. Additional areas of interest are the management of animal manure for full recovery of nutrients and improving the efficiency of production in developing-country livestock systems, both of which will require a combination of technological, policy and voluntary action. There is also a growing body of research publications on “sustainable intensification” (Garnett and Godfray, 2012; The Montpellier Panel, 2013; Van Buren et al., 2014).

Nationally, land ownership has been an important driver in shaping production systems. Assured access to land and water is important for livestock production, whether through legal ownership or customary land rights, and this will become increasingly urgent as grazing land is lost to crop production and climate change affects marginal areas where many indigenous animals are kept. A report by IFAD (2009) concluded that increased control by indigenous people over access to grazing land, water rights and land-tenure laws were all important means of preventing land degradation and ensuring sustainable land use.

Emerging policy issues in the livestock sector include animal welfare and the regulation of biotechnology (see Part 3 Section F for further discussion). There are also a number of policy areas that affect the sector indirectly. For instance, as noted above, incentives for biofuel production have already affected feed prices and created competition for land and water. A notable trend in the past ten years has been the growth of coalitions, such as the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (see above) and the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef,3 that aim to accommodate environmental and social concerns into sector strategy. Social concerns such as public health, animal welfare and environmental impacts are increasingly factored into private-sector voluntary agreements.

Policies aimed at supporting the livestock sector have often neglected smallholders and pastoralists, who account for a large proportion of the producers in developing countries. Smallholders are also neglected by the private sector, other than through contract-farming arrangements and limited investment initiatives. It is, however, likely that policy-makers looking to reduce poverty will, in future, increasingly aim to take the needs of smallholders into account. FAO (2010 and 2012b) has proposed an inclusive policy framework aimed at including smallholders (Table 2A6).

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1“Bound” tariffs are rates of duty agreed by the World trade Organization.

Section B

The livestock sector’s response

The drivers of change discussed in Section A induce various responses from the livestock sector. The first SoW-AnGR described these responses for each of the main livestock production systems defined by Seré and Steinfeld (1996) (Table 2B1). For consistency, the present report follows the same structure. The classification defines systems based on the proportion of feed dry matter that comes from crops, the proportion of non-livestock farming activities in the total value of farm production and the stocking rate. It differentiates grassland-based, mixed farming and landless systems. Mixed farming (rainfed and irrigated) and grassland-based systems are subdivided by agro-ecological zone.

A recent mapping by ILRI and FAO illustrates the spatial distribution of production systems around the world (Figure 2B1). Grassland-based systems are estimated to account for 26 percent of the ice-free land surface of the world (Steinfeld et al., 2006). However, mixed farming and intensive landless systems account for the majority of production (Steinfeld et al., 2006; Steinfeld et al., 2010; Herrero et al., 2014).

The geographical distribution of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens has also been mapped (Robinson et al., 2014). Ruminants are widely distributed, although goats are mainly found in Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East. High cattle densities are found predominantly in mixed-rainfed and mixed-irrigated systems, but can be also found in grassland-based systems. (FAO, 2013a). Chicken and pig densities follow human population densities (for further discussion of the geographical distribution of livestock species, see Part 1 Section B).

1Landless industrialized production systems

1.1Overview

“Industrialization” of production systems (resulting from intensification, scaling-up and geographical concentration of specialized production and processing units) has been a response to increasing demand for animal products. It began in the 1960s in developed countries and in the 1980s in developing countries. Not all landless production is industrialized, but industrialized systems are a substantial and growing part of landless systems. The trend to industrialization has accelerated since the 1990s in developing countries, but has plateaued in the rest of the world. Systems of this type are particularly dominant in the pig and poultry sectors. By the early 2000s, they already accounted for 72 percent of poultry-meat production, 55 percent of pig-meat production and 61 percent of egg production globally (de Haan et al., 2010), although with great variation from region to region (Figure 2B2).

Large-scale landless production systems are economically competitive where demand is relatively high and where large retailers are well established. These systems have benefited from technological advances and have advantages over small-scale production with respect to economies of scale and the ability to provide large and regular supplies to retailers. Large producers also find it easier to manage quality and sanitary standards. Food chains and large retailers have generally preferred contracting with industrial production systems and have stimulated the development of these systems. This is particularly true for poultry meat, egg and pork production.

1.2Major trends

Expanding production to meet growing demand. Expansion has been particularly marked in monogastric systems, which since the 1980s have experienced faster growth than ruminant systems, a trend that is expected to continue until 2050, especially in the developing world. Herrero et al. (2014) estimated that, in 2000, 78 percent of monogastric production came from industrial systems.1 In 2050, between 85 and 95 percent of production is likely to come from these systems. In contrast, growth in ruminant industrialized systems has been somewhat stagnant. Large-scale beef feed-lots have been a feature of production systems in Australia and North America (Galyean et al., 2011), but national herd sizes in these areas have declined in recent years as a result of drought. The systems are also not fully landless, as animals do not enter the feedlot until they are one to two years old. The use of feedlots in the Brazilian beef industry has expanded in recent years, accounting for 13 percent of the country’s beef production in 2012 (Millen and Arrigoni, 2013). Dairy cattle and small ruminants are much less susceptible to industrialization than monogastrics; although industrial systems exist, the majority of production still comes from mixed farms and grassland-based systems (FAO, IDF and IFCN, 2014).

Moving the production base from developed to developing countries. This trend began in the 1980s and is still evident. Monogastric production, which has historically accounted for much of the output of landless systems and lends itself to industrialization, is growing particularly sharply in developing countries (Figure 2B3). In 1980, industrial systems accounted for more than 90 percent of monogastric production in Europe and Latin America and only 33 percent in Africa and the Middle East. By 2050, industrial production systems may account for 80 percent of the production in developing countries. In Africa, the establishment of intensive poultry farms near cities is becoming more widespread (FAO, 2011a). Industrialization of the dairy sector in developing countries is very slow (Gerosa and Skoet, 2012). Two factors contribute to this effect. In some locations, including the periphery of many large cities and more generally in South and Southeast Asia, farm sizes and herds are small, making it hard to achieve economies of scale. Elsewhere, land holdings and herd sizes are larger, but grazing makes an important contribution to the animals’ diets (FAO, IDF and IFCN, 2014). Exceptions to this pattern are North Africa and the Near East, where an arid climate limits the availability of grazing and dairy feedlots are common.

China, India and Brazil have been major contributors to industrialization. In China, for instance, 90 percent of poultry and 74 percent of pigs were raised in industrial systems in 2005, higher proportions than in high-income countries (Figure 2B4).

Investment against future shocks. Major developing-country producers are taking advantage of developments in technology and animal-health policy to protect themselves against future shocks from disease outbreaks. Large poultry companies, such as Cobb in Brazil and Aviagen in India, are developing certified disease-free compartments, while Chile and South Africa have both introduced compartmentalization schemes for pigs. In Thailand, one of the top-ten poultry exporters before 2003, the largest poultry companies have invested heavily in processing technology, as processed meat is less susceptible to trade bans.

However, it is hard for producers to prepare for shocks caused by price volatility. Prospects for industrialized systems in developing countries will be affected by the price and price volatility of livestock feeds, as many developing countries are (or will be) feed importers (Guyomard et al., 2013). Alexandratos and Bruinsma (2012) estimated a 2 percent annual growth rate in the use of cereal feed in developing countries over the 2005/2007 to 2050 period.

Changing practices in response to societal concerns. Recent years have seen animal welfare issues entering the international policy agenda and affecting livestock-industry practice to a greater degree than they have in the past. Since 2005, the World Assembly of OIE Delegates has adopted ten animal welfare standards for inclusion in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, including standards for the transport of animals by land, sea and air, slaughter of animals, killing of animals for disease-control purposes, and animal welfare in beef cattle and broiler chicken production. While these standards apply to all livestock production systems, they are most closely scrutinized in industrialized systems. As noted above, concerns about animal welfare led to an EU-wide ban on traditional battery cages for hens in 2012, with producers switching to “enriched” cages, barn production or free-range systems. Pig producers in Australia are voluntarily phasing out sow gestation stalls, and several large producers in North America and Europe have made small changes to improve welfare in their value chains.

Industrialized systems have also begun to respond to concerns about environmental issues. These systems require large quantities of land, fossil fuels and water to produce feed. They have also been associated with spillages of manure, which can contaminate soil and water (FAO, 2009). Contamination of pastures and croplands with heavy metals (added as supplements to livestock diets and excreted in manure) are particularly hazardous for food-chain safety. Industrial intensive systems affect biodiversity through the destruction and pollution of habitats and their expansion can contribute to the erosion of animal genetic resources (see Section C below and Part 1 Sections B and F). Advances in technology and improvements to management may mitigate some of these impacts. While practices have not yet changed a great deal, research is being carried out on the recovery of nutrients and production of biogas from manure (Cuéllar and Webber, 2008), genetic improvements to improve feed-conversion efficiency and use of alternative feed sources (FAO 2012; 2013b). Some large companies also contribute to discussion fora such as the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (see Section A above).

2Small-scale landless systems

2.1Overview

In the developing world, many millions of landless people (i.e. rural or urban people that do not own cropland or pastures and do not have access to large communal grazing areas) keep livestock (Birthal et al., 2006). Animals kept in systems of this kind can provide their keepers with food and other products for sale or home use and play a role in waste management (FAO, 2011). Various feed resources are used, including limited communal grazing, scavenged feed (from streets, yards, etc.), wastes (from kitchens, markets, etc.) and purchased feeds. Small-scale landless production does not fall neatly into widely used production system classifications, and its contribution to global output is difficult to estimate, as is the number of people practising this kind of production.

Small-scale landless producers often use locally adapted breeds, as they tend to be well adapted to scavenging, produce efficiently in backyard conditions and are able to cope relatively well with some diseases and parasites. The main exception to this is in small-scale dairying, where cross-bred cows are often preferred because – provided they receive sufficient feed and appropriate management – they give higher milk yields. Other exotic animals are sometimes raised if they can be accessed easily and production conditions are not too extreme.

Small-scale landless livestock keepers are mostly found in urban and peri-urban areas, close to demand centres. However, they can also be found in rural areas dominated by mixed farming systems where the population density is high and/or land ownership is unequally distributed. Many small-scale landless producers face significant constraints in terms of their ability to access or afford feed and animal-health services. As a consequence, their level of production is low. In rural areas, small-scale landless production is quite peripheral to livestock-sector policies and mostly ignored by government services. The exception is control of major disease outbreaks by culling, which can temporarily decimate livestock populations. In urban areas, small-scale landless production may be targeted by public health and environmental policies. Livestock in cities are a public health concern, as they may transmit zoonotic diseases and parasites. They also cause environmental problems if waste management systems cannot cope with the disposal of manure.

2.1Major trends

Although the contribution of small-scale landless systems to global production is small, the number of producers is expected to rise in the future. In some countries, access to rural land is becoming increasingly difficult and landless livestock ownership may increase. As authorities often try to exclude livestock keeping from urban areas because of public health and environmental concerns FAO, 2011), urbanization might be expected to reduce the numbers of landless livestock keepers. However, when rural people migrate to cities to seek new work opportunities they often bring small livestock with them. Urban poverty is still very high and livestock owning provides poor people with a source of income and food. Peri-urban dairy cattle and poultry keeping is also important in the provision of food supplies to growing cities. The first SoW-AnGR suggested that the presence of small-scale intensive systems might prove to be a transitional phase that would be superseded once large-scale production took off. At present, however, “new and old” poultry systems are coexisting in China and small-scale dairy systems remain important in India. It seems likely that this will continue to be the case, at least in the near future.

3Grassland-based systems

3.1Overview

Grassland-based systems are found all over the world, predominantly in areas that are unsuitable or geographically inconvenient for crop production. As these systems are highly dependent on the natural environment, livestock breeds are generally well adapted to local water availability, forage and climate. Pastoralist and ranching systems are an important source of protein, converting human-inedible forage into meat and milk (FAO, 2011). Pastoralists, estimated at around 120 million people (FAO, 2011), have developed breeds and management strategies that are well adapted to specific production environments (Watershed Organisation Trust, 2013; FAO, 2013a). In temperate areas, grazing systems are frequently rather intensive and use advanced technologies and specialized breeds (i.e. high-output breeds specializing in the production of single products). In terms of global output of animal products, grassland-based systems are of greatest importance in the cattle and small-ruminant sectors (Figure 2B2).

Grassland-based livestock systems face various pressures. They have to deal with the extreme weather events and new disease threats brought about by climate change with very limited technological options. Pastoralist systems are particularly vulnerable to livestock disease outbreaks, as they often have limited access to animal-health services. They also often have to cope with the effects of civil unrest and various kinds of social and political disruption. In addition to continuing competition from the expansion of croplands and land-use changes associated with the expansion of cities, grassland-based livestock systems face competition from other potential land uses. For example, grasslands can be managed to provide ecosystem services such as regulating water flow in rivers, recharging underground water sources, conservation of wild biodiversity and carbon sequestration, or as sites for wind turbines. In some instances these can be complementary activities to livestock raising, provided that appropriate livestock management is practised. Notwithstanding these challenges, the current consensus is that grazing systems will maintain their current land area until at least 2030 (see next subsection for further discussion).

3.2Major trends

Maintaining land area. Letourneau et al. (2012) estimated that between 2000 and 2030 2.8 million km2 of pastoral areas will be replaced with rainfed crop-land systems. However, the total land area under grazing systems is expected to remain approximately constant to 2030 because of an expansion of 2.7 million km2 into forested areas. It is likely that replacement of forest by pasture is almost over in Latin America and the Caribbean and declining in South, Southeast and East Asia (FAO, 2013b). Conversely, pastoral systems in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to continue replacing forest areas during the coming decade (ibid).

Increasing importance of arid and semi-arid grassland-based systems. Some of the world’s most fragile and sensitive grassland ecosystems, such as the Brazilian and Argentinean cerrados and the savanna areas of certain parts of East Africa, are under pressure as a result of climate change and the expansion of croplands (IPCC 2014, citing Lambin and Meyfroidt, 2011). Despite these challenges, projections suggest that arid and semi-arid grassland-based livestock systems in sub-Saharan Africa will increase their output of small-ruminant meat and milk and, to a lesser extent, beef and cattle milk (Herrero et al., 2014).

Diversification within pastoralist systems. The various pressures affecting pastoralist systems are leading to changes in the lifestyles and livelihoods of livestock keepers, including a trend towards sedenterization (FAO, 2011). Economic circumstances have created a growing gap between richer and poorer pastoralists in the Horn of Africa, with some becoming contract herders, while others become more substantial livestock owners and traders (Aklilu and Catley, 2010; FAO, 2011). As the human population in Mongolia grows, it appears that herders with smaller numbers of animals are being gradually forced out of herding, while among those who remain as herding households, many are acutely vulnerable to poor climatic conditions and are likely to face periodic food insecurity (FAO, 2011). Historically, policies have generally not been helpful to pastoralists, but some changes aimed at providing appropriate rights and services to pastoralist populations are occurring, for instance in China and Senegal (Steinfeld et al., 2010).

Changes in ranch systems. Ranch systems in Latin America and the Caribbean have faced changes as a result of pressure from expanding croplands and mixed systems. This has recently led to changes in Brazilian beef production systems, with increasing use of feedlots (Millen and Arrigoni, 2013).

Limited progress in mitigating rangeland degradation and deforestation. Rangeland degradation is a major issue in grazing systems and may be exacerbated by climate change, land competition and increasing grazing intensities. Over the 2000 to 2050 period, grazing intensities are expected to increase by 70 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean (Robinson et al., 2011). It has been estimated that in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, around 70 percent of rangelands are degraded (Gerber et al., 2010). Preventing pasture degradation where institutions for resource management are lacking is difficult (FAO, 2011). However, policies are increasingly targeting pasture restoration and the mitigation of rangeland degradation. In China, for example, the Loess Plateau and the grasslands of Inner Mongolia are especially vulnerable to land degradation (Gerber et al., 2010). Recent policies have aimed to apply partial or complete grazing bans, progressively, over 70 million hectares in Inner Mongolia (Kemp et al., 2013). Overall, China is spending US$2 billion a year on grassland management and related poverty-alleviation programmes (ibid.).

Deforestation caused by the expansion of rangeland systems into forested areas leads to biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. It has been estimated that 13 million hectares were deforested for pasture establishment in Latin America between 1990 and 2006 (Opio et al., 2013). Around one-third of greenhouse gas emissions from beef production in Latin America and the Caribbean during this period have been attributed to pasture expansion (ibid). At the time, Brazil and Costa Rica’s policies included incentives and subsidies/credits to establish pastures on deforested land (Gerber et al., 2010). However, as noted above, deforestation for grazing-land expansion in Latin America is likely to be coming to an end (Letourneau et al., 2012; FAO, 2013a). For example, in Costa Rica, policies have recently addressed forest protection and recovery through the establishment of national parks and protected areas accounting for more than 35 percent of the total forest cover in 2005 (Gerber et al., 2010). Deforestation remains an issue in Asia and Africa, although it appears to be declining in Asia.

Potential for diversification of livelihoods from grasslands. There is growing acknowledgment of the importance of preserving vital ecosystem services, including the provision of habitat for plant and animal biodiversity, pollination, climate regulation and the supply of potable water (Noble et al., 2014). In some areas it may be possible for grassland-based livestock to co-exist with the provision of carbon sequestration services, conservation of grassland to improve water flow in rivers or generation of electricity from wind turbines (Antle and Stoorvogel, 2011; de Jode and Hesse, 2011; Grassland Foundation, 2005; Neely and De Leeuw, 2011; World Bank, 2009). Co-use of land may require livestock to be kept at lower stocking rates, but could potentially generate higher economic returns from grassland than livestock alone. It requires careful management and functioning markets for non-livestock outputs.

4Mixed farming systems

4.1Overview

Mixed farming involves the integration of livestock and crop production into one system. Livestock provide manure to fertilize the soil and (in some cases) draught power for agricultural work. Crops provide feed for the animals. Mixed-rainfed systems are found particularly in temperate areas of Europe and North America, in humid and subhumid areas of Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa, in semi-arid areas of Africa and in South Asia. Mixed-irrigated systems are predominantly found in East and South Asia. Mixed farming systems account for a large share of global livestock production, making a particularly significant contribution to milk and ruminantmeat production (Figure 2B2).

In the developed regions of the world, mixed farms are mainly intensive and production tends to be specialized. A narrow range of breeds with high production potential are increasingly used. There has been a trend towards landless production, especially for monogastric animals. In developing countries, both intensive and extensive mixed farming systems are dominated by small-scale production. Intensive mixed systems are generally market oriented. Depending on the circumstances, they may use either locally adapted breeds or cross-breeds (exotic × locally adapted). Extensive mixed farms, particularly those in marginal areas of developing countries, are predominantly subsistence or semi-subsistence oriented, with weak integration into the market. The breeds kept in these systems are mainly locally adapted, and multipurpose livestock production (meat and milk, meat and traction, etc.) remains important.

4.2Main trends

Stagnation in developed countries. Projections suggest that most of the future growth in developed-country livestock output will be in poultry and pig production (OECD/FAO, 2014), which is concentrated mostly in landless systems. It is likely that, due to scarcity and costs of water and feed, mixed farming systems will intensify without changing into landless systems. These resource constraints will result in stagnation or even a decrease in the output of livestock products from these systems. There are indications of long-term trends towards larger farm sizes and ageing farming populations in developed countries. However, the impact of these trends is not yet clear. There are also some important nuances – including, in some countries, persistence of small and larger farms while medium-sized farms slowly disappear, and shifts in the social groups entering and leaving farming – that may affect livestock production and productivity in unexpected ways (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012; DEFRA, 2012; Mulet-Marquis and Fair-weather, 2008; USDA, 2014).

Persistence of smallholders in developing countries. The prevalence of small-scale production in both intensive and extensive mixed farming systems in developing countries is expected to persist, as a result of continuing fragmentation of land (Steinfeld et al., 2010). Agricultural land area per person economically active in agriculture has decreased over recent decades in all developing regions except Latin America and the Caribbean, reaching 0.6 ha in South and Southeast Asia, where farms are smallest (Figure 2B5). Farm sizes in Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to grow. In small mixed farms, livestock are an important source of income; it has been estimated that they typically contribute 5 to 20 percent of total household income in mixed-rainfed systems and 25 to 35 percent in mixed-irrigated systems (Steinfeld et al., 2010). Smallholder mixed farming systems are predicted to remain the main producers of ruminants until 2050 (Herrero et al., 2014).

Increasing pressure on intensive mixed systems in developing countries. Although consumption growth, integration into markets and new life opportunities encourage intensification and commercialization, intensive systems in developing countries are coming under increasing pressure from land fragmentation, limited resources and increasing input costs (feed and drugs). Increasing concentration of animal populations also makes disease control more challenging. It is expected that during the period to 2030 growth in crop productivity will drastically slow or even end (Herrero et al., 2012). Climate change is a major challenge to sustainability and even irrigated systems are facing problems of water shortage. In Africa, semi-arid mixed-rainfed systems in the Sahel, arid and semi-arid grazing systems in East Africa and mixed and grazing systems in the Great Lakes Region may be severely affected by climate change (Thornton, 2014). Notwithstanding these various pressures, mixed systems are expected to survive, and in extensive systems productivity gains may be possible (Herrero et al., 2012).

Environmental impacts. Well-managed mixed farming systems are recognized as being relatively benign in environmental terms. However, intensification, with increasing inputs and stocking rates, can lead to more severe impacts on the environment, particularly through increased demand for concentrate feeds. Over the 2000 to 2030 period, rainfed croplands are predicted to expand by 4.3 million km2 (Letourneau et al., 2012), with part of this expansion resulting from a growing need for livestock feed. The first SoW-AnGR identified several environmental problems associated with irrigated mixed farming, including waterlogging, salinization of soils, the effects of dam building and issues linked to the disposal surplus of water.2 These problems persist and may increase if livestock production in mixed systems continues to intensify.

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1For monogastric production, Herrero et al. (2014) differentiated industrial systems from smallholder systems. Ruminant production systems were classified as in the Seré and Steinfeld (1996) classification.

2FAO, 2007, pages 174–176.

Section C

Effects of changes in the livestock sector on animal genetic resources and their management

1Overview and regional analysis

As described above in Sections A and B, the livestock sector in many parts of the world is undergoing rapid transformation, driven by both demand-side and supply-side factors. This section aims to describe the effects that these changes are having on animal genetic resources (AnGR) and their management. The first SoW-AnGR noted, in particular, that the intensification of the livestock sector was having a major influence on AnGR management and leading to the more widespread use of a narrow range of international transboundary breeds, often exotic to the countries where they were being used. It noted that locally adapted breeds retained an important role in more traditional production systems, but that the sustainable use of AnGR in these systems was being disrupted by a number of factors, including inappropriate policies, climate change and degradation of natural resources or problems with access to these resources. On the more positive side from the perspective of maintaining AnGR diversity, it noted that cultural roles, demand for environmental services and the emergence of new niche markets were to some extent stimulating the use of locally adapted breeds and that there was potential scope for expanding these uses. It also noted the potential future significance of locally adapted AnGR in the context of climate change and other threats to the sustainability of high external input systems and the use of high-output breeds.

With the aim of obtaining more detailed information on how these broad trends are playing out at national level, the country-report questionnaire for the second SoW-AnGR1 included questions on the main drivers of change identified in the first SoW-AnGR (see Table 2C1). Countries were asked both to describe the effects of the drivers and to provide scores for the extent of their impacts on AnGR and their management during the preceding ten years and for predicted impacts for the next ten years.

The quantitative responses are summarized in Figure 2C1. With regard to impacts over the last ten years, six of the 15 drivers – changes in demand (quantity and quality), changes in imports, factors affecting the popularity of livestock keeping, policy factors and changes in state of grazing lands – received an average score of more than 1.5 (midway between “low” and “medium”). Most of the other drivers scored between 1 and 1.5. The exceptions were changes in livestock’s cultural roles and the replacement of livestock functions. The low scores for these two drivers may reflect the fact that in a number of countries these changes had largely played out more than ten years ago. The high score for quantitative changes in demand coincides with the conclusion drawn in the first SoW-AnGR that this major driver of livestock-sector trends is having a substantial effect on AnGR management, and with widespread concerns that economic and demand-related factors pose a threat to AnGR diversity (FAO, 2009a). Qualitative changes in demand scored somewhat lower, but their impact is predicted to increase considerably in the future.

The relatively high score given to the effects of imports of animal products presumably reflects the impact of competition on national livestock sectors. The impact of export trade is reported to have been relatively low, but the significance of this driver is predicted to rise substantially in the future – the largest proportional increase (40 percent) among all the drivers considered. Factors affecting the popularity of livestock keeping as a livelihood activity (lifestyle changes, alternative employment opportunities, etc.) were not stressed particularly heavily as drivers of change in the first SoW-AnGR, but received the second highest average score in the country-report responses. Given that in many countries there is a tendency for small-scale livestock keepers (generally regarded as “guardians” of AnGR diversity) to move out of the sector (FAO, 2009b), the effect of this driver on AnGR is likely to be mainly negative in terms of maintaining diversity, although in some circumstances growth of interest in livestock keeping as a hobby or “alternative” lifestyle may contribute to the ongoing maintenance of non-mainstream AnGR.

The relatively high score received by policy factors coincides with the conclusion drawn in the first SoW-AnGR that livestock-sector policies can have a significant effect on AnGR management. As discussed above in Section A, a wide range of policy areas and types of policy instruments can affect AnGR management. Over the last decade or so, discussions of general objectives of livestock-sector development have increasingly emphasized the importance of improving the efficiency of production, particularly with regard to reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emitted per unit of food produced (Steinfeld et al., 2006; FAO, 2009b). There has been a tendency to regard smallholder and pastoralist systems as relatively inefficient, which if translated into concrete policies could potentially have a negative effect on livestock diversity by de-emphasizing the production systems that tend to favour the maintenance of a diverse range of AnGR. Recent years have, however, seen some alternative views put forward regarding the nature of “efficiency” in livestock production systems, including arguments related to the need to take a broader range of livestock products and services into account on the output side and the need to consider a wider range of inputs and environmental impacts (see Box 2C1). It remains to be seen whether arguments of this kind will have a significant effect on future policies.

It is interesting to note that the effects of all the drivers considered in the country reports are predicted to be greater in the future than in the past. Apart from above-noted increase in the significance of export trade, the drivers whose impact is expected to show the greatest increases are climate change (35 percent increase) (see Box 2C2 for an example), technological changes (33 percent) and changes related to marketing access and infrastructure (32 percent increase).

There are a number of regional differences in the significance of the various drivers (Table 2C2). For example, in Africa, there is predicted to be a big increase (relative to that in other regions) in the impact of drivers related to demand, marketing and retailing. This is consistent with: i) the predicted increase in demand for animal products in Africa (see Section A above); and ii) the major scope for change that exists in the management of AnGR in this region. Given this background, the finding may not be particularly surprising. However, it highlights the increasingly dynamic nature of AnGR management in the region and – given that drivers in this category are commonly regarded as threats to AnGR diversity – the need for action to ensure that changes are managed sustainably. The effects of policies and technological changes are also predicted to increase substantially in this region. This might again be interpretable as an unsurprising response to a dynamic period of development, but given the potential of both policies and the use of technology to have both positive and negative effects on AnGR diversity, it again highlights the need to ensure appropriate management, including monitoring programmes for trends in the size and structure of breed populations. Africa also generally has higher future scores for environment-related drivers (climatic changes, drivers related to grazing land, disease) than other regions. Some of these drivers (climatic changes and degradation of grazing land) also have relatively large predicted increases in their effects.

In Asia, the predicted future impacts of demand- and marketing-related drivers are mostly similar to those in Africa. The difference between the two regions is that, in Asia, most of these drivers received similar scores for their past and future impacts. A big jump in the impact of export trade is, however, predicted for Asia.

In the Southwest Pacific, drivers related to the environment and natural resources stand out in terms of their predicted future increases in impact. However, in absolute terms, the scores for these drivers are not particularly high relative to other regions. From relatively low levels in the past, the impacts of cultural change, technological change and policy factors are predicted to increase substantially.

The situation in Europe and the Caucasus is relatively stable in terms of differences between past and future impacts. The largest predicted changes are in the impacts of climatic changes, animal diseases (perhaps to some degree connected to climatic change) and qualitative changes in demand. The driver with the most impact (both in the past and predicted for the future) is policy. This probably reflects the significance of AnGR-focused policies (i.e. policies specifically aiming to promote conservation and sustainable use) in the European Union (EU) and in some other European countries (see Part 3 Section F). This is the only region where quantitative changes in demand do not have the highest or joint highest impacts (both past ten years and predicted future).

Latin America and the Caribbean reports a pattern of past impacts that is roughly similar to those of Asia and Africa. Predicted changes from the past to the future indicate a moderate degree of dynamism, but changes in the impacts of demand and market-related drivers are generally less dramatic than in Africa. The biggest increase in impact is predicted in the policy field. Moderate increases are predicted across a range of different drivers, including those related to the environment and natural resources, exports, marketing infrastructure and qualitative changes in demand.

In the Near and Middle East, the past and future impacts of most drivers are predicted to be similar. The largest predicted increases are in the impacts of changes in marketing infrastructure and access and changes in the state of grazing land. The impact of several drivers is predicted to decrease, including, in sharp contrast to other developing regions, technological changes. The impact of disease epidemics is predicted to decline because of improvements to veterinary provisions in some countries.

2Specific effects on animal genetic resources management – examples at country level

As noted above (see also Part 1 Section F), it is generally considered that rising demand for livestock products drives production-system changes that tend to lead to the wider use of a narrow range of breeds (those suitable for use in industrial or other high-input systems) and constitute potential threats to the survival of other breeds because of replacement (see Box 2C3) or in some cases indiscriminate cross-breeding. This analysis is generally borne out by the descriptions provided in the country reports. The report from Suriname, for example, notes that producers’ desire for “quick” improvements in production has led to the introduction of exotic breeds with high yield potential, even though this has created problems associated with higher expenses for feed, housing and overall management. Despite these problems, there is reportedly “a reluctance or in some cases inability” to switch back to using locally adapted breeds. The report from Niger mentions that the effects of greater demand for livestock products, driven by population growth and urbanization, have included the emergence of a new layer of rich farmers and the impoverishment of thousands of small-scale livestock keepers that raise locally adapted breeds.

As described above in Section A, changes in income levels and lifestyles can lead to changes in the types of animal-source food sought by consumers. For example, urbanization and rising incomes tend to lead to an increase in demand for convenience foods, often mass-produced and sold by large retailers. However, a certain level of affluence, and changing fashions, may lead to growing interest in speciality food products, potentially including those that are more traditional or perceived to be so. Social and environmental concerns may start to exert greater influence on consumers’ choice of products. The first SoW-AnGR noted that the homogenization of consumer demand posed a potential threat to AnGR diversity, while the emergence of niche markets offered a potential means of keeping “non-mainstream” breeds in use. The establishment of “new” niche markets for animal products has tended to be a developed-country phenomenon. However, a number of examples from developing countries have been recorded (LPP et al., 2010) (see also Part 1 Section D). Moreover, in many developing countries, long-standing preferences for the taste of products from native breeds continue to influence customer choice. While these general tendencies are widely recognized, the scale and precise nature of their effects on AnGR diversity remain unclear, particularly in developing countries.

The country reports provide a number of examples of the influence of qualitative changes in consumer demand on AnGR management. The report from Slovenia, for example, notes that increasing demand for organic, animal-welfare friendly, environmentally friendly and traditional products means that more emphasis is being given to indigenous breeds. It also predicts that the influence of these consumer demands on AnGR and their management will be higher in the next ten years than in the past. The report from the United States of America mentions that the establishment of new local or regionally based markets will create opportunities for product branding that support the use of at-risk breeds. It also notes that in the case of chickens, consumer demand for “naturally” grown meat has affected the development of new lines, enhancing diversity at commercial level, and that, in some states, animal-welfare regulations may lead to the development of new genetic lines for cage-free production.

Among developing countries, the report from Kenya notes that indigenous chickens are increasingly being raised for organic meat production. Some other country reports – including those from Bhutan, Namibia and Nepal – note some degree of increasing interest in speciality or high-quality products and a potentially positive effect on demand for locally adapted breeds. The report from Malawi mentions that increasing consumer preference for products from locally adapted breeds is expected to have both positive and negative effects on the sustainable use of AnGR. One the one hand, livestock keepers will be motivated to continue raising locally adapted breeds. One the other, there may be pressure to sell high-quality breeding stock for slaughter. With regard to homogenization of demand and its effects on AnGR, the report from Suriname notes a link to international trade: importation of poultry-meat products has affected consumer tastes and this has led to a strong shift towards the use of exotic breeds.

The effects that changes to marketing infrastructure and market access are reported to be having on AnGR management are also diverse. The most straightforward effect of improving market access is to expose more livestock keepers to the influence of consumer demand in the relevant markets. This can magnify the above-described demand-related effects, either to the cost or to the benefit of AnGR diversity. The potential for negative effects on diversity as a consequence of locally adapted breeds increasingly being replaced by exotic breeds as market access increases is noted, for example, in the country reports from India and Kenya. Conversely, some reports (e.g. Bhutan and South Africa) note the potentially positive effect of increasing access to speciality markets. Specific campaigns to promote the marketing of speciality products or those from particular production systems (e.g. produced by smallholders) have the potential to benefit AnGR diversity. This may occur as a result of a deliberate attempt to promote conservation (see Part 4 Section D) or as a side-effect of efforts to promote livelihood development. The country report from the Netherlands, for example, notes the “potential positive impact of marketing of regional products and labelled products through specific supply chains.” Advances in communication technologies are creating new marketing opportunities for some livestock keepers. For example, the report from the Republic of Korea mentions that online marketing has created links between producers and consumers and provides a marketing channel for products from native AnGR.

Several country reports, both from developing and developed countries, mention that ongoing concentration of retailing in the hands of supermarkets is negatively affecting AnGR diversity because of, inter alia, demand for more uniform products. However, in a number of countries there is also reported to be increasing interest on the part of supermarkets and other retailers in labelling schemes related to geographical origin, product quality, animal welfare and so on. The country report from South Africa, for example, mentions labelling schemes for grass-fed beef, free-range mutton, Karoo lamb and Klein Karoo ostrich.

Some country reports note that the import of animal products or the demands of export markets are influencing AnGR management. The precise consequences are not always clear. However, in some cases (e.g. Sierra Leone), competition from imports is reported to be discouraging livestock keeping and leading to a decline in animal populations and negative consequences for AnGR. The report from Ghana mentions the negative effects of “unfair competition from imported products” on the local pig and poultry sectors. There is, however, some uncertainty about future trends. The report from Senegal, for example, notes the potential need to ensure that the country’s livestock sector is able to meet increasing local demand in the event of rising import prices. On the export side, the country report from South Africa mentions that growing emphasis on animal welfare and sustainable production in export markets is creating opportunities for marketing certified products from locally adapted breeds. The report from Lesotho notes that export demand for wool and mohair are driving the development of breeding programmes for fibre-producing species.

Production-system trends driven by environmental changes also potentially affect demand for different types of AnGR. Where production systems become “harsher” as a result of climate change, resurgent disease problems, etc., the roles of locally adapted breeds may become increasingly important and demand for them may increase (or decline more slowly). The country report from Barbados, for example, notes that the cost of adapting production environments to provide appropriate conditions for exotic breeds is likely to increase. The report from Brazil, states that climate change is likely to increase interest in the use of locally adapted breeds for cross-breeding, although their low levels of production may hamper the implementation of such strategies. The report from South Africa highlights the effect of climate change on the incidence of diseases and parasites and the roles of resistant or tolerant locally adapted breeds such as tick-tolerant Nguni cattle and native goats that are resistant to internal parasites and cowdriosis. Other reports that mention increasing interest in locally adapted breeds as a result of climate change include those from Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Sudan.

Major environmental changes may make it more difficult to raise some breeds in the geographical areas where they have traditionally been kept and may even lead to shifts in the species raised in a given area. Developments of this kind may pose a threat to some breeds. While immediate threats to specific breeds are rarely reported (possibly because of inadequate monitoring programmes – see Part 3 Section B), many country reports mention the threat that climate change poses to livestock production, and in some cases to AnGR diversity, via the increased prevalence of climatic disasters and disease outbreaks or via more gradual changes to production systems. The report from Mongolia, for example, states that

“Occurrences of natural disasters have become frequent, which … [adversely affects] AnGR through tremendous death of livestock. For instance, the harsh winter disaster of 2010 resulted in 10.2 million livestock losses, equivalent to 20 percent of the national herd … As the pastoral livestock system is vulnerable to any changes, climate change … will have an adverse impact on … [the system’s] AnGR through [effects on] feed and water resources in the future.”

Degradation or loss of grazing land is noted as a problem in several country reports. In some cases, climate change is mentioned as a contributing factor. Specific effects on AnGR management are again rarely mentioned. However, the report from Bhutan states that the quality of pastures has declined over the years, with reduced carrying capacity leading to further overgrazing, and that this may require a reduction in the use of low-producing breeds and more emphasis on high-yielding breeds. The report from the Islamic Republic of Iran notes that the main grazing area of the Systani cattle breed, wetlands in the eastern part of the country, have been affected by the construction of a dam in neighbouring Afghanistan.2 It further notes that some Systani herds were transferred to another part of the country as part of efforts to conserve the breed. Adverse effects of rangeland degradation on locally adapted breeds are also noted in the country report from China. The report from Peru notes that rangeland degradation has led many people, particularly those living at high elevations and keeping camelids and sheep, to sell their land and animals and migrate to towns and cities. The desire to minimize the rangeland degradation caused by livestock keeping can also affect breed choice. For example, the country report from South Africa mentions the case of the Nguni cattle breed, which is considered to be much less harmful to degraded grazing areas than exotic breeds.

In addition to the effects of pasture degradation per se, several country reports note that loss of grazing land as a result of the expansion of other land uses is affecting AnGR management. For example, the report from Sri Lanka states that the conversion of grazing land into human settlements, cropland and wildlife parks is limiting the feed resource base for livestock. Some reports (e.g. those from Austria, Bulgaria, India and Kenya) note that developments of this kind are a threat to locally adapted breeds. The report from Peru mentions that commercially oriented quinoa production has fuelled an expansion of cropland and changes in production methods that have affected access to land for camelid husbandry. It also notes that water resources in the lands used by indigenous communities are often appropriated or contaminated by mining operations. The report from the Plurinational State of Bolivia also mentions the effect that expanding quinoa production has had in terms of the loss of pasture-land used by camelids and sheep. The report from Ethiopia links the expansion of cropland into grazing areas to the growth of the human population and notes that effects on livestock include a reduction in household herd/flock sizes, poor resistance to disease and interbreeding among breeds as animals move in search of feed.

The impact of replacement of livestock roles and functions on AnGR and their management received a relatively low score in comparison to some other drivers of change (Figure 2C1, Table 2C2). However, changes of this type can have a major effect on demand for specific breeds and species. Among effects of this type, the decline of locally adapted breeds because of the replacement of draught animal power with mechanized power is by far the most commonly mentioned in the country reports (see also Part 1 Section D), although little information is provided about effects on specific breeds.

The report from Burkina Faso mentions that a decline in the savings and insurance roles of livestock is having a negative effect on locally adapted AnGR. However, several other countries indicate that livestock continue to play an important role in the provision of services of this kind. Several country reports mention that the cultural roles of livestock are declining and that in some cases that this is having a substantial effect on AnGR and their management. The report from Sri Lanka, for example, notes that exchange of livestock at the time of marriages used to be a widespread practice and that this helped to distribute livestock and maintain their diversity, but that this practice has disappeared. It also notes that concerns about animal welfare have led to some animal sports (e.g. cock fighting) being prohibited by law and that sacrificing animals at religious events is in decline because of societal disapproval, with the consequence that breeding of the types of animal used in these events is in decline. At the same time, the cultural roles of livestock remain important in many countries and in some cases are being built upon as a means of promoting the sustainable use and conservation of potentially threatened breeds (see Part 4 Section D for examples).

Some new functions are emerging that potentially increase demand for breeds that might be threatened with extinction if they had to continue relying on their traditional roles. The use of livestock in the management of landscape and wildlife habitats, for example, is creating significant demand for some locally adapted breeds in Europe (see Part 1 Section D and Part 4 Section D for examples).

The influence of economic, livelihood or lifestyle factors on the popularity of livestock keeping as an activity and on the type of livestock keeping practised is noted in a number of country reports. Consequences for AnGR management are not always described in detail. However, a number of different effects are noted. For example, several reports from European countries note a decline in the number of small farms and a declining interest in livestock keeping, particularly among young people. This trend is generally regarded as a threat to AnGR diversity, as the production systems that have traditionally maintained a wide range of locally adapted breeds are tending to disappear. Several country reports from developing countries note the ongoing popularity of livestock keeping. However, a few (e.g. China and Eritrea) mention that changes to traditional production systems and lifestyles is threatening the survival of locally adapted breeds. The country report from the Islamic Republic of Iran notes specifically that the populations of Murkhoz goats and Bactrian camels in the western part of the country are decreasing sharply because of changes in the lifestyles of local people. The report from India offers a more general comment on the popularity of livestock keeping:

“New generations are losing interest in livestock keeping because of changes in lifestyle aspirations and alternative opportunities available in the country … Livestock keeping is becoming less profitable. Average herd/flock size is decreasing.”

Technological advances can affect AnGR and their management in multiple ways. Various livestock management technologies can help to create conditions in which exotic breeds can be introduced into areas where they would otherwise not flourish. The country report from Kenya, for example, notes that improved animal husbandry and management practices are leading to more widespread use of exotic breeds. Reproductive technologies, such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer, can make it easier to introduce breeds into new areas and to cross-breed with them. The country report from Zambia, for example, states that more livestock keepers are being trained in artificial insemination and that this has led to increased demand for specialized dairy cattle. Reproductive technologies can play valuable roles in AnGR management, but if breed introductions and cross-breeding are badly managed, problems can be exacerbated by their use. Indiscriminate cross-breeding and breed replacement are among the factors most frequently mentioned in the country reports as causes of genetic erosion (see Part 1 Section F).

Several country reports (e.g. China, Ghana, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea) mention the positive roles that new technologies play in various aspects of AnGR management, including characterization, genetic improvement and conservation. However, the country reports provide little detailed information on the current or predicted future effect of the introduction of genomic technologies (see Part 4 Sections B and C) on the utilization of different types of AnGR. Potential effects of the use of these technologies on the utilization of at-risk or non-mainstream breeds are discussed in Box 2C4.

Policy factors are among the drivers reported in the country reports to be having the greatest effect on AnGR and their management, with a considerable increase in their importance predicted for the coming ten years relative to the past (Table 2C2). Impacts on AnGR vary greatly. On the one hand, policies directed at promoting the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR can provide valuable support to efforts to prevent breeds from becoming extinct and to maintain diversity. On the other hand, policies can constrain certain types of livestock production and thereby threaten the associated AnGR. Policies may also promote breed replacement, either directly or by promoting production system changes that lead to the introduction of exotic (or other alternative) breeds. Changes in the types of breeds and cross-breeds utilized is an inevitable consequence of the evolution of the livestock sector and these changes are always likely to be affected by a range of policies that are not all favourable to AnGR diversity. As with other drivers of change, there is a need to ensure that the impacts that policies have on diversity are monitored and that, if necessary, action is taken to adjust them or to promote by other means the conservation and sustainable use of breeds that are adversely affected.

The country reports mention a range of different policy-related factors affecting AnGR management. Several note AnGR-focused policies that are benefiting or are expected to benefit the sustainable use, development and conservation of these resources. However, some suggest that policies focus on rapidly increasing the output of animal products lack sufficient emphasis on longer term sustainable management. Some reports mention broader livestock-sector policies that are expected to influence AnGR management: for example, those related to environmental protection, animal welfare, rangeland management not, but and disease control. However, little detailed information on the effects of these policies is provided. Further discussion of the state of national and international policies and legal frameworks on AnGR management can be found in Part 3 Section F.

One issue that was recognized in the first SoW-AnGR as a potential future influence on AnGR management was the question of rising input prices. Although information on the effects of this driver was not specifically requested in the country-report questionnaire, it was mentioned in some responses. Rising feed costs are, for example, noted as a factor influencing AnGR management in the country reports from Barbados and Kiribati. The report from Ghana notes that high production costs are among the factors leading to the closure of many of the country’s pig and poultry farms.

References

Amador, C., Fernández, J. & Meuwissen, T.H.E. 2013. Advantages of using molecular coancestry in the removal of introgressed material. Genetics Selection Evolution, 13 (available at http://www.gsejournal.org/content/45/1/13).

Country reports. 2014. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e01.htm.

FAO. 2009a. Threats to animal genetic resources – their relevance, importance and opportunities to decrease their impact. Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Background Study Paper No. 50. Rome (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/017/ak572e.pdf).

FAO. 2009b. The State of the Food and Agriculture. Livestock in the balance. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0680e/i0680e.pdf).

LPP, LIFE Network, IUCN–WISP & FAO. 2010. Adding value to livestock diversity – Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods. FAO Animal Production and Health Paper. No. 168. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1283e/i1283e00.htm).

Odegard, J., Yazdi, M.H., Sonesson, A.K. & Meuwissen, T.H.E. 2009. Incorporating desirable genetic characteristics from an inferior into a superior population using genomic selection. Genetics, 181: 737–745.

Steinfeld, H., Gerber, P., Wassenaar, T., Castel, V. Rosales, M. & de Haan, C. 2006. Livestock’s long shadow: environmental issues and options. Rome, FAO (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0701e/a0701e00.pdf).

UNDP. 2014. Hamoun wetlands. Current situation and the way forward. Tehran, United Nations Development Programme in the Islamic Republic of Iran (available at http://tinyurl.com/oucualv).

Vigne, M. 2014. Efficiency of extensive livestock systems in harsh environments. Cirad Perspective 25. Paris, Cirad Agricultural Research for Development (available at http://tinyurl.com/opo2ajm).

Weiler, V., Udo, H.M.J., Viets, T, Crane, T.A. & De Boer, I.J.M. 2014. Handling multi-functionality of livestock in a life cycle assessment: the case of smallholder dairying in Kenya. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 8: 29–38.

Yosef, T., Mengsitu, U., Solomon, A., Mohammed, Y.K. & Kefelegn, K. 2013. Camel and cattle population dynamics and livelihood diversification as a response to climate change in pastoral areas of Ethiopia. Livestock Research for Rural Development, 25(9) 2013 (available at http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd25/9/yose25166.htm).

1For further information on the reporting process, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages of this report.

2Other problems affecting this area and threatening the grazing lands of the Systani cattle are reported to include reduced precipitation (apparently caused by climate change), expansion of agricultural lands, inefficient irrigation, inappropriate cropping patterns, introduction of non-native aquatic plants and overexploitation of pastures (UNDP, 2014).

Section D

Livestock sector trends and animal genetic resources management – conclusions

The analysis presented in Section A indicates that while growth may be slowing, global demand for animal-source foods is expected to continue increasing, and indications are that much of this demand growth will be met by production from large-scale landless systems. Meat consumption has expanded very quickly in Latin America, but future expansion is expected to be strongest in South Asia and Africa. The same regions are projected to be the main centres of growth in milk consumption. These are both very resource-constrained regions, where there are still many small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists and where small-scale milk production has historically been strong. Growth in demand is widely viewed as one of the main drivers of change in AnGR management, and experiences from other regions suggest that dramatic increases in demand create major challenges to the sustainable use of livestock diversity.

Despite the spread of “industrial” and other intensive production systems, the livestock sector in most developing countries remains far from homogeneous. Mixed farming and grassland production systems continue to provide a substantial proportion of output, particularly in the case of ruminants. Livestock continue to play multiple roles in the livelihoods of many poor people. In some circumstances, small-scale commercially oriented producers contribute significantly to meeting growing demand for animal-source food. Production environments remain diverse in climatic and agroecological terms, and in many circumstances isolating animals from harsh environmental conditions is impractical. The demands placed on AnGR therefore remain diverse. However, given the evolving (in some cases rapidly evolving) nature of livestock production systems and the fact that knowledge of breed characteristics often remains inadequate, ensuring that breeds and crosses are well-matched to their production environments and to the demands placed on them is challenging. In terms of breed survival, rapid change may mean that a breed’s existing role disappears rapidly and that it declines towards extinction before new roles for it can emerge or national authorities recognize the threat and take action to promote its conservation.

In addition to “demand-side” drivers, livestock production is being affected by physical changes affecting the agro-ecosystems in which it takes place. Current changes are, on the whole, creating greater challenges for livestock-keeping livelihoods. Climate change, in particular, is likely to create increasing problems over the coming years and decades. The importance of livestock biodiversity as a resource with which to adapt production systems to future changes and as a source of resilience in the face of greater climatic variability is likely to increase. Climate change, however, also poses threats to the sustainable management of AnGR.

Another widespread trend with important implications for AnGR management is the movement of people out of livestock keeping as a livelihood activity and into alternative employment. In most countries, small-scale livestock keeping is unlikely to disappear in the short or medium term. However, the pull of economic activities outside livestock keeping and of non-livestock keeping lifestyles often adds to constraints at production-system level in reducing the economic and social attractiveness of livestock keeping. Where trends of this type are strong, AnGR associated with particular traditional types of livestock keeping or with particular communities may be threatened.

In developed countries, industrial and other intensive production systems are already dominant and several traditional livestock functions have become very marginal. Many locally adapted breeds remain at risk of extinction. However, some developments have begun to create roles for breeds that are not competitive in terms of the supply of mass-market products. The most significant trends of this type are probably the growth of niche markets for various kinds of traditional or ethically produced products and the increasing use of grazing animals in the management of wildlife habitats. Given that many developing countries have sizeable middle classes and that many livestock production systems in developing countries provide important regulating and habitat ecosystem services,1 it is possible that developments such as niche marketing and payment for environmental services might have an increasing influence on AnGR management in the future. There are, however, many constraints to the successful implementation of such schemes in developing countries.

The evolution of livestock production systems is affected not only by economic forces and the state of the physical environment, but also by public policies. The country reports suggest that policy factors have a major effect on AnGR and their management and that this effect is likely to increase in the future. A wide range of policies may be relevant, some focused specifically on AnGR management, but others targeting other aspects of livestock keeping, rural development, consumer protection and the environment. Many may be put in place with no thought to their effects on AnGR diversity. The current state of policy frameworks, their implementation and their effects on AnGR is discussed in Part 3 Section F. There are some positive developments, such as the increasing number of countries developing national strategies and action plans for AnGR. However, weak policies and programmes are still regarded as significant drivers of genetic erosion in a number of countries (see Part 1 Section F). The future of broad livestock-sector policies may be influenced by arguments regarding the nature of efficiency in livestock systems.

Policies that aim to support the sustainable management of AnGR require a long-term perspective. Understanding livestock-sector trends is therefore a vital element of AnGR management planning (FAO, 2009; 2010; 2013). The country-reporting exercise may have helped countries to review the influence of livestock-sector trends on their AnGR and to prioritize actions that need to be taken to address future demands, threats and opportunities within different production systems and affecting different breeds or breed categories. In other countries, the reporting process may have highlighted gaps in knowledge that make it more difficult to plan effectively. Where this is the case, efforts need to be made to collect and analyse the relevant information, perhaps as part of the process of developing or updating a national strategy and action plan for AnGR.

References

FAO. 2009. Preparation of national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 2. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0770e/i0770e00.htm).

FAO. 2010. Breeding strategies for sustainable management of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 3. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1103e/i1103e.pdf).

FAO. 2013. In vivo conservation of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 14. Rome (http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3327e/i3327e00.htm).

1See Box 1D1 in Part 1 Section D for explanation of these terms.

Part 3

THE STATE OF CAPACITIES

Introduction

This part of the report presents an analysis of capacities in the management of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture (AnGR), based on the information provided in the country reports. In contrast to the country-reporting process for the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR), the country reports were prepared using a standard questionnaire. One hundred and twenty-eight reports were submitted using the questionnaire. Therefore, except where otherwise stated, the analysis is based on a self-selecting sample of 128 countries. The country coverage, including the possibility that non-reporting countries may have lower levels of capacity than those that reported, needs to be borne in mind when interpreting the findings. The regions and subregions used in the analysis are those that were defined for the purpose of the first SoW-AnGR. It should be noted that in some subregions the proportion of responding countries is relatively low and thus the above-noted potential for sampling bias to affect subregional-level statistics may be more marked.1

The analytical approach varies from section to section according to the nature of the information provided in the country reports. The first section presents an analysis of the state of human and institutional capacity in AnGR management. This is followed by sections describing the state of characterization, inventory and monitoring, breeding programmes, conservation programmes and the use of reproductive and molecular biotechnologies. The final section covers legal and policy frameworks affecting AnGR and their management. This section is divided into three major subsections, addressing frameworks at international, regional and national levels. The latter subsection draws on responses to a survey on policy and legal frameworks conducted by FAO in 2013.

Much of the analysis in Sections B, C, D and E is based on the breed concept. As discussed in the introduction to Part 1, there is no universally accepted means of determining whether a given livestock population should be considered a distinct breed. In the country-reporting process (as is the case with ongoing reporting of breed-related data to the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System [DAD-IS]^2^ – see Part 1 Section B) each country determined for itself how to interpret the breed concept. Thus it needs to be borne in mind that the unit of analysis upon which the reported figures are based may vary from country to country. It should also be noted that – as the objective is to assess national capacities – the unit of analysis for the breed-related data presented in this part of the report is the national breed population (i.e. a given breed within a given country), rather than the breed as a whole. So-called transboundary breeds (see Part 1 Section B) have national populations in more than one country. The country-report questionnaire requested respondents to indicate the number of breeds present in their respective countries and to indicate how many are considered “locally adapted” and how many “exotic” (see Part 1 Section B for definitions). Unless otherwise stated, figures indicating the proportion of national breed populations subject to various types of management activity are based on this sample.

1For further information on the country-reporting process and on the regional and subregional classifications, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages.

Section A

Institutions and stakeholders

1Introduction

The first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a) concluded that in most parts of the world the institutional framework for animal genetic resources (AnGR) management was inadequate. Improvements in this field are targeted in Strategic Priority Area 4 of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b) – Policies, Institutions and Capacity-building (see Box 3A1).

This section describes the state of human and institutional capacities in AnGR management at national, regional and international levels. The analysis is based largely on country reports, reports from regional focal points and networks for AnGR management and reports from international organizations whose work is relevant to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action.1

2Institutional capacities at country level

2.1Basic recommended institutional framework for animal genetic resources management

In adopting the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources countries affirmed the need for effective national institutions to support the sustainable management of AnGR. The Global Plan of Action specifically calls for the establishment or strengthening of National Focal Points for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources and for these bodies to be strongly linked to stakeholder networks. Recommendations for the development of institutional frameworks at national level were further elaborated in guidelines endorsed by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in 2011 (FAO, 2011a). The basic elements of this recommended framework are an officially nominated National Coordinator for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources, a National Focal Point (the National Coordinator and his or her support staff) and a multistakeholder National Advisory Committee (see Boxes 3A2 and 3A3). It is also recommended that each country develop a national strategy and action plan for AnGR as a vehicle for implementing the Global Plan of Action at national level (FAO, 2009).

As of July 2014, officially nominated National Coordinators were in place in 173 countries (Figure 3A1), up from 144 in 2006 (FAO, 2006). A majority of National Coordinators are based within ministries responsible for agriculture or rural development. However a number work for research institutions, universities or other relevant organizations (Figure 3A2). National Advisory Committees were in place in 78 countries (Figure 3A3).

2.2Country-report analysis

The country-report questionnaire requested countries to provide a score (none, low, medium or high) for the state of their capacities and provisions in each of the following areas:

  • education (the state of tertiary education in all areas of AnGR management);
  • research (the state of research in all areas of AnGR management);
  • awareness (the extent to which all stakeholders in agriculture, rural development and environmental management are aware of the roles and values of AnGR);
  • infrastructure (the extent to which the organizational and physical infrastructure needed to deliver services related to AnGR management is in place);
  • stakeholder participation (the extent to which individual stakeholders and stake-holder organizations, particularly livestock keepers and their organizations, are involved in and can influence collaborative AnGR management activities at local and national levels);
  • policies (the extent to which the country [i.e. national or regional government] has established policy initiatives, strategies, programmes or plans that promote the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR);
  • policy implementation (the extent to which the country’s policy initiatives, strategies, programmes or plans promoting the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR are being successfully implemented);
  • laws (the extent to which the country has put in place a legal framework that is conducive to the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR and that protects livestock breeders/owners’ rights to manage AnGR as they deem appropriate); and
  • implementation of laws (the extent to which the country’s laws conducive to the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR are being successfully implemented).

With regard to policies and laws, the questionnaire recognized that the type of framework required would vary from country to country, i.e. that elaborate frameworks are not necessarily required in all circumstances. In assigning their scores, countries were asked to focus on the extent to which their legal and policy measures are sufficient to ensure the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR in their particular national circumstances. The responses are summarized region by region in Figure 3A4. Differences at subregional level are shown in Figures 3A5, 3A6 and 3A7. Detailed findings within each thematic area are shown in Figures 3A9, 3A10 and 3A11.

The scores shown in Figure 3A4 indicate that in almost all aspects of the institutional framework for AnGR management, North America and Europe and the Caucasus have higher levels of capacity than other regions. Asia has medium to low levels of capacity (average scores between 1 and 2) across all the elements of institutional capacity covered. In other developing regions, at least some elements of institutional capacity are at very low levels (average scores between 0 and 1).

The country-report questionnaire also required responding countries to report on the progress they had made in implementing the various elements of the Global Plan of Action. These responses were used to calculate indicators for progress made at the level of strategic priority areas and at the level of individual strategic priorities (see Box 3A1 and Table 3F1 in Part 3 Section F) (FAO, 2014). National-level indicators for Strategic Priority Area 4 (Policies, Institutions and Capacity-building) are shown in Figure 3A8.

Infrastructure and stakeholder participation

Organized AnGR-management activities that involve action at farm (or holding) level (e.g. in situ conservation) are dependent on the active involvement of livestock keepers. They will often also require the participation of a range of other stakeholders (suppliers of livestock services, processers of livestock products, veterinary authorities, research institutions, local government authorities, nature conservation agencies, tourism operators and so on) (FAO, 2010; 2013). Other activities, such as surveying and monitoring of population sizes, may not require such a high level of commitment on the part of livestock keepers, but are nonetheless dependent on their participation. Again, they are also likely to require the cooperation of a range of different stakeholders (FAO, 2011b). While circumstances will vary from country to country, a top-down approach in which little attention is paid to stakeholders’ objectives and concerns – particularly those of livestock keepers – is unlikely to be successful.

Effective stakeholder participation in AnGR management is likely to depend on the existence of a degree of organizational infrastructure, whether in the form of stakeholder groups such as breeders’ associations or in the form of mechanisms that facilitate the involvement of individual stakeholders (consultative and participatory planning processes, etc.). Various elements of AnGR management are also dependent on the availability of a certain level of physical and technical infrastructure (e.g. laboratory facilities to enable cryoconservation and transport infrastructure to facilitate service delivery and marketing initiatives).

The country reports indicate that in all regions apart from North America and Europe and the Caucasus, both stakeholder involvement and physical and organizational infrastructure remain at low to medium levels of development (Figure 3A9). Even in developed regions, it appears that provisions in these fields still need to be strengthened. In North America, for example, infrastructure is very well developed, but the level of stakeholder participation is reported only to be medium. Many developing countries report that a lack of government support and funding constrains efforts to improve stakeholder participation. Some examples of initiatives in this field are nonetheless described in the country reports. For example, Uganda reports that livestock-keeper groups influence activities at local level and are gradually acquiring national recognition. The country is in the process of establishing a “Livestock Genetic Platform”, via which stakeholders will be able to contribute to discussions on AnGR management.

Many countries, particularly in Africa, note that a lack of funding for infrastructure development is a problem. For example, the country report from the United Republic of Tanzania mentions poor road links to livestock-keeping areas. While European countries generally have well-developed infrastructure in place, some remote areas in this region remain poorly served by road networks. This can constrain surveying and monitoring activities, access to markets and the provision of veterinary services. The country report from Albania notes that in mountainous areas infrastructural developments associated with tourism have inadvertently helped AnGR conservation to flourish.

Education, research and knowledge

A lack of knowledge of AnGR and their management can be a serious constraint to the sustainable use, development and conservation of these resources. Some country reports note specific constraints or problems that have arisen because of a lack of knowledge. Swaziland’s report, for example, mentions that indigenous knowledge related to livestock keeping and the maintenance of AnGR diversity has not been documented and that this is a constraint to the development of breeding programmes and other AnGR management strategies. In Sri Lanka, lack of knowledge is reported to lead to the slaughter of valuable breeding animals and to indiscriminate cross-breeding. Inability to distinguish between breeds has reportedly led to the near extinction of some of the country’s breeds (e.g. the Kottukachchiya goat).

The state of education, research and knowledge, as reported in the country reports, is summarized in Figure 3A10. As in most areas of AnGR management, the highest levels of provision and capacity are reported from the developed regions of the world, although levels differ markedly between countries even in these regions. In most developing regions, education, research and knowledge are at medium to low levels, with the Southwest Pacific reporting the lowest levels across all categories.

While a number of countries report various educational courses and training activities related to livestock production, relatively little information is provided on the state of education more specifically related to AnGR management, i.e. breeding (genetic improvement), conservation, characterization, etc. Educational initiatives targeting AnGR management as a distinct topic appear to be restricted mainly to Europe and not to be very widespread. The livestock production study programme of University of Montenegro’s Biotechnical Faculty is reported to include a course in “Animal genetic resources (sustainable use and conservation)”. The country report from the Netherlands notes that in addition to university-level programmes, biodiversity and genetic resources are also included in the curriculum at primary and secondary school levels.

AnGR-related research activities are widely reported from all regions of the world. Nonetheless, many barriers to effective research efforts remain to be overcome, especially in developing countries. For example, the country report from Kyrgyzstan notes that a lack of funding and resources (laboratories and technical knowledge) and the absence of governmental support have reduced research capacity. A lack of young scientists entering the field is noted as constraint to research in some country reports (e.g. Barbados and Liberia).

State of awareness, policies and policy development, and laws and their degree of implementation

Awareness of the roles and values of AnGR among policy-makers is an important prerequisite for the development of appropriate institutions for their management. Awareness among the general public may also help to push the issue up the political agenda. Awareness among livestock keepers and development practitioners should lead to more sustainable approaches to AnGR management (providing such approaches are not constrained by other factors such as a lack of resources). Policies and laws can have a major influence on AnGR management. However, the specific types of instruments and the levels of intervention required will depend on the specific circumstances in the respective country. Legal and policy frameworks are discussed in detail in Part 3 Section F. Country-report responses related to the state of awareness, laws, policies, implementation of laws and policy implementation are summarized in Figure 3A11.

The country reports indicate that in all regions there is a need to increase awareness of the roles and values of AnGR. Awareness of the significance of locally adapted breeds and the need to conserve those that are at risk of extinction may in fact be even lower than suggested by the data presented in Figure 3A11. For example, the country report from Germany notes that awareness is high only in relation to economically important breeds and that there is significantly less awareness of issues related to the management of breeds that are at risk of extinction. Despite such concerns, a certain basic awareness of the significance of sustainably managing AnGR is apparently widespread at governmental level, given the very large number of countries that have appointed National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources (see Subsection 2.1).

Legal and policy frameworks are well developed in North America and Europe and the Caucasus, but less so in other regions. It should be recalled (see above) that high scores do not necessarily indicate elaborate legal or policy measures in the field of AnGR management. They indicate that existing legal and policy frameworks are appropriate to the needs of the respective country. For example, the United States of America reports a relatively non-interventionist approach in many AnGR-related fields of policy and legislation (see Part 3 Section F), but indicates that this creates a conducive framework for effective AnGR management. The state of implementation of laws and policies is at a high level in North America and a medium to high level in Europe and the Caucasus. However, in other regions there seem to be major weaknesses in implementation. It is possible that the low scores in this field are in part accounted for by a lack of laws or policies to implement,2 but in most regions the level of implementation appears to lag behind the level of “on-paper” provision.

A number of different awareness-raising activities (exhibitions at agricultural shows, television programmes on AnGR-related topics, etc.) are mentioned in the country reports. There are some indications that these have led to positive outcomes in terms of AnGR management. The country report from South Africa, for example, notes that intensified awareness-raising efforts targeting the “developing-farmer” and communal sectors have led to additional breeds, including the Zulu sheep, Tankwa goat and Afrikaner cattle, being characterized and conserved.

Integration of the management of animal genetic resources with the management of plant, forest and aquatic genetic resources

In view of growing interest in managing the various elements of biodiversity for food and agriculture in a more integrated way, the country-report questionnaire included a subsection devoted to this topic. Countries were requested to provide information on the extent to which AnGR management is integrated with the management of plant, forest and aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture by providing a score (none, limited or extensive) for the extent of collaboration in various aspects of genetic-resources management. They were also requested to describe the nature of any collaboration reported and, if relevant, to describe any benefits obtained by pursuing a collaborative approach. The results of the scoring exercise are summarized in Table 3A1.

The average scores for the extent of collaboration between the subsectors of genetic resources management are rather low. However, there is a lot of variation between countries in terms of the levels of collaboration reported. While 20 percent of countries report no collaboration in any of the areas of management considered, there are a number of reports of “extensive” integration. In the case of “joint national strategies or action plans” (some countries specified that they were referring to legal instruments), 16 percent of countries indicate an extensive level of integration. There are also some reports of integrated activities in fields such as marketing. For example, the country report from Poland mentions the “Kurpie model”, an NGO initiative to promote agricultural biodiversity, under which indigenous livestock breeds and plant varieties have been reintroduced and promoted for use in organic agriculture and sustainable development in the northeastern part of the country. Plant and animal products from the scheme are jointly marketed in shops in the capital city.

Most countries did not report specific institutions or stakeholder bodies that coordinate activities across the various subsectors of genetic resources. Some country reports note that the fact that different types of genetic resources are addressed by different ministries is a constraint to collaboration and coordination. Nonetheless, a number of coordinating structures or bodies of various types are mentioned in the country reports, including ministerial or interministerial committees (e.g. Finland and Gabon), foundations (e.g. France), genetic resources centres (e.g. Brazil, Norway and Sweden) and genetic resources networks (e.g. the Plurinational State of Bolivia). In other countries, particular stakeholders play an integrating role with regard to specific aspects of genetic resources management (e.g. gene banking or research).

In addition to the above-mentioned concern about lack of coordination between government ministries, the main constraints to integrated approaches to genetic resources management noted in the country reports are lack of funds, insufficient training of staff working in relevant institutions, lack of sensitization and education among stakeholders and the general public, lack of national-level strategies and legislation, and lack of coordination between administrative and field levels. Some country reports suggest that relatively small-scale initiatives, such as integrated projects and workshops, could be a means of fostering collaboration on a larger scale.

The main potential benefits of an integrated approach foreseen in the country reports are: in administrative terms, savings in time and costs; and, at field level, more efficient and sustainable use of natural resources and the reduction of conflicts related to resource use.

3Institutional frameworks at subregional and regional levels

3.1Regional focal points and networks for the management of animal genetic resources

Collaboration between countries at regional level can facilitate action in many areas of AnGR management. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources calls for the establishment of regional focal points for the management of AnGR and for the strengthening of international networks (see Box 3A1). Detailed advice on the establishment and operation of regional focal points is provided in FAO’s guidelines on The development of institutional frameworks for the management of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2011a). As of mid-2014, the following focal points and networks were in operation:

  • Asian Animal Genetic Resources Network;
  • European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources;
  • Regional Focal Point for Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • Sub-Regional Focal Point for West and Central Africa; and
  • Animal Genetic Resources Network Southwest Pacific.

As part of the reporting process for the second SoW-AnGR, regional focal points and networks were invited to report on regional-level activities contributing to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action. Reports were received from Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Southwest Pacific.3 The reports can be accessed at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e03.htm. Regional focal points and networks also participated in the previous round of reporting on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (FAO, 2012).4

The European Regional Focal Point is the longest-established and most active network. During the period since the adoption of the Global Plan of Action (2007), it has been active in the implementation of all four of the Plan’s strategic priority areas. In the field of characterization inventory and monitoring (Strategic Priority Area 1), actions have included work on the establishment of a regional information system for AnGR (the European Farm Animal Biodiversity Information System – EFABIS) and efforts to harmonize risk-status and endangerment criteria. In the field of sustainable use and development (Strategic Priority Area 2), actions have included contributing to discussions related to the European Union’s legal framework on access and benefit-sharing. In the field of conservation (Strategic Priority Area 3), actions have included organizing training activities, providing support to a number of conservation projects and, in 2014, the establishment of the European Gene Bank Network for Animal Genetic Resources (EUGENA) (see Box 3D8 in Part 3 Section D). In the field of policies, institutions and capacity-building (Strategic Priority Area 4), actions have included contributing to discussions on the development of the European Union’s legal and policy frameworks in areas relevant to AnGR management.

The Regional Focal Point for Latin American and the Caribbean was established in 2007. Its main activity has been the organization of a number of regional workshops for National Coordinators. Priorities for the future are reported to include seeking financial support for the organization of training courses and for collaborative activities at regional and/or bilateral levels. In the Southwest Pacific, an online network for discussion, dissemination of information and communication between National Coordinators has been established. Other activities have included characterization and conservation projects for locally adapted pigs and chickens, involving a number of countries. In 2012, the recently established Sub-Regional Focal Point for West and Central Africa reported a number of priorities for future action. However, it did not participate in the 2014 round of reporting. The Asian Animal Genetic Resources Network, established in late 2013, has agreed an organizational structure and intends to focus on information exchange, the provision of assistance and technical advice, and the mobilization of funds.

3.2Other collaborative activities at regional and subregional levels

The focal points and networks discussed above exist specifically to strengthen the implementation of the Global Plan of Action at regional level. However, a range of other players also contribute to this goal. The roles of regional political and economic unions and communities (e.g. the European Union and the subregional economic communities of Africa) in the establishment of regional-level legal and policy instruments relevant to AnGR management are discussed in Part 3 Section F. Regional and subregional-level AnGR management activities can also be organized or supported by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations (e.g. UN agencies) or research organizations (e.g. the centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research5CGIAR). Countries can also enter directly into collaborative activities with their regional neighbours.

While the analysis presented in the Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (FAO, 2014) indicates that international collaboration is one of the elements of the Global Plan of Action in which least progress has been made, a number of countries report that they have participated in collaborative activities at regional level. For example, in response to a specific question about regional in situ conservation projects, more than 40 percent of countries indicate that they have contributed to the development and implementation of such programmes. A somewhat lower number (approximately 30 percent) report that they have contributed to “international cooperative inventory, characterization and monitoring activities involving countries sharing transboundary breeds and similar production systems”, many of which are likely to have been at regional level. Collaboration in these fields is more advanced in developed regions than elsewhere in the world.

The level of international cooperation within Europe is greatly increased by the above-described work of the European Regional Focal Point. However, a number of examples of bilateral collaboration, or collaboration involving small groups of countries, are also reported. In the Americas, Brazil, Canada and the United States of America have cooperated in the development of an information system for the management of data related to conservation activities. The main other reported initiative involving countries from Latin America and the Caribbean is the REGENSUR Platform created by the Southern Cone Cooperative Program for Technological Development in Agri-Food and Agroindustry (PROCISUR) of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture of the Organization of American States, which in 2010 expanded its mandate to include animals and micro-organisms in addition to plants. Collaborative work is envisaged in the fields of sustainable use, conservation, policies and capacity-building, the aim being to reinforce the implementation of national strategies and action plans for AnGR in the countries of the Southern Cone of South America. Regional-level initiatives in Africa have mostly been implemented under the auspices of the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).

AnGR-focused NGOs working at regional or subregional levels are reported mainly from Europe. Examples include Safeguard for Agricultural Varieties in Europe (SAVE Foundation) (see Box 3A4) and the Danubian Countries Alliance of Genes in Animal Species (DAGENE). Research organizations active at regional level include the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD) (mandate covering all Arab states), whose activities include inventory and characterization studies, breeding programmes, AnGR-related training activities and awareness-raising in the fields of conservation and sustainable use.

4Institutional frameworks and stakeholders at international level

A range of different entities contribute to the institutional framework for the management of AnGR at international level (i.e. global or spanning more than one region). As at regional level, these include intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and research organizations. International policy and legal frameworks developed by global intergovernmental bodies such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), FAO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) are discussed in Part 3 Section F.

The international instrument most directly focused on AnGR management is, clearly, the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, which was negotiated under the auspices of FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Global Plan of Action and FAO plays the leading role globally in terms of both supporting and monitoring implementation. FAO’s activities are described in Boxes 3A5 and 3A6. The Commission provides an intergovernmental forum for ongoing discussion of issues relevant to the management of AnGR and other biodiversity for food and agriculture.

The ongoing work of both WIPO and the Secretariat of the CBD also supports the implementation of the Global Plan of Action in various ways. Both bodies submitted reports on their activities as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process. WIPO’s report notes, in particular, its Patent landscape report on animal genetic resources (WIPO, 2014) and ongoing negotiations taking place in the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore.6 The report from the CBD Secretariat notes, inter alia, work taking place under the Global Taxonomy Initiative,7 efforts to promote the ecosystem approach, work related to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, work related to the Convention’s Article 8(j) (Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices) and the periodic publication of the Global Biodiversity Outlook.^8^ As discussed in Part 3 Section F, the Secretariats of the CBD and the Commission have agreed a joint work plan with the aim of promoting synergies in efforts to implement the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and the Commission’s Multi-Year Progamme of Work.

Another UN body that contributes to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, and submitted a report on its activities, is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which assists countries through the transfer of nuclear-related technologies and complementary tools. AnGR-related technologies that feature in IAEA’s work include molecular genetic testing, hormone monitoring and artificial insemination.

The main international research organizations with mandates relevant to the management of AnGR are Bioversity International, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The latter two organizations undertake a range of activities relevant to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, including characterization studies, work on the establishment of community-based breeding programmes and provision of support to policy development. Bioversity’s AnGR-related work focuses mainly on economic valuation (see Part 4 Section E). All three organizations submitted reports on their activities as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process.

The number of international NGOs actively supporting the implementation of the Global Plan of Action is limited. Only a few organizations in this category submitted reports as part of the second Sow-AnGR reporting process: Heifer International; the International Committee for Animal Recording; the League for Pastoral Peoples; and Rare Breeds International. The missions of these organizations (along with those of other relevant international and regional organizations) are shown in Table 3A2.

A number of NGOS and civil society organizations have also taken on a campaigning role at international level. The emergence of the concept of “Livestock Keepers’ Rights”, for example, was discussed in the first SoW-AnGR9 (recent developments are described in Box 3A7). Another issue that has become increasingly prominent in the work of civil society organizations in recent years is the development of so-called biocultural community protocols in livestock-keeping communities (see Part 4 Section D – particularly Box 4D3).

5Changes since 2005

Table 3A3 compares the scores for the state of capacity and provision presented above in Subsection 2 to the equivalent figures from the first SoW-AnGR process,10 taking into account the 109 countries that participated in both reporting processes. It is important to note that the figures are not directly comparable. Aside from the inevitable element of subjectivity involved in such scoring exercises, the scores used in the first SoW-AnGR were allocated on the basis of the textual descriptions presented in the country reports rather than being directly assigned by the countries themselves.11 While the figures therefore have to be interpreted with some caution, the global trends over the 2005 to 2014 period have been positive (scores increased) or neutral (scores stayed the same) in all aspects of the institutional framework considered. The figures indicate declines in some areas of capacity in some regions, most commonly in Latin America and the Caribbean. These declines are clearly matters of some concern, but are perhaps accounted for by overly generous allocation of scores during the first SoW-AnGR process.

At international level, the major change since 2005 has been the adoption of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. Implementation of most of the Global Plan of Action’s strategic priorities takes place mainly at national level (see Table 3F1 in Part 3 Section F). As described above, activities related to the development of institutional frameworks fall mainly within Strategic Priority Area 4 of the Global Plan of Action (see Box 3A1). The Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (FAO, 2014) includes an analysis of the progress made (as reported in the country reports) in the implementation of the various elements of the Global Plan of Action since its adoption in 2007. Many examples of improvements to institutional frameworks are reported. However, relative to the amount of work that remains to be done in order to establish effective institutional frameworks in all countries, progress has been modest. On the positive side, the number of countries having a National Coordinator for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources in place is higher (in 2014) than ever before. The number of countries that have developed or are in the process of developing national strategies and action plans for AnGR (see Part 3 Section F) is also encouraging given that national plans targeting AnGR management in a holistic sense were rare prior to the adoption of the Global Plan of Action. Thirty-percent of country reports note an increase in national funding for AnGR management since 2007.

Given that at the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared, only one regional focal point for AnGR (Europe) was in operation, the existence of four additional regional focal points and networks represents a significant step forward. However, there is clearly scope for further improvement, both in terms of the coverage of regional and subregional focal points and in terms of the level of activity of existing focal points.

The number of international organizations substantially involved in promoting the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR has not increased since 2005. However, four international organizations (AU-IBAR, IAEA, ILRI and the SAVE Foundation) report that their budgets for activities supporting AnGR-related activities have increased since the adoption of the Global Plan of Action.

6Conclusions and priorities

In general, the conclusions drawn in the first SoW-AnGR remain valid. Without effective institutions, it is difficult to make progress in terms of strengthening AnGR management programmes. Major gaps and weaknesses in institutional frameworks still need to be addressed. The most positive development in recent years has probably been the more widespread establishment of specifically AnGR-focused structures and instruments, in particular National Focal Points (appointment of National Coordinators) and national strategies and action plans. These developments indicate that AnGR management has acquired at least a foothold on national political agendas. This is further illustrated by the large number of country reports submitted despite the short period of time available in which to prepare them. The development and strengthening of regional focal points and networks is another indicator of countries’ interest in AnGR management.

While legal and policy frameworks are still reported to be far from adequate in many countries, they have been supplemented by a substantial number of new instruments over recent years (see Part 3 Section F for further discussion). However, effective implementation remains a problem for many countries. In many cases, the basic prerequisites for effective policy implementation – physical and organizational infrastructure, stakeholder participation, and knowledge and awareness of AnGR-related issues – remain weak or absent. The consequences of these weaknesses are evident in many of the areas of AnGR management discussed in the country reports. Aside from the ubiquitous lack of sufficient funding, lack of knowledge and technical skills, lack of stakeholder participation and inadequate or poorly implemented policies are among the main reported constraints to the establishment of effective AnGR management programmes in all fields from surveying and monitoring to conservation and genetic improvement.

References

Country reports. 2014. The reports can be accessed at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e03.htm.

FAO. 2007a. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1250e/a1250e00.htm).

FAO. 2007b. Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1404e/a1404e00.htm).

FAO. 2009. Preparation of national strategies and action plans for animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 2. Rome (available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0770e/i0770e00.htm).

FAO. 2010. Breeding strategies for sustainable management of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 3. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1103e/i1103e00.htm).

FAO. 2011a. Developing the institutional framework for the management of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No 6. Rome (available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0054e/ba0054e00.pdf).

FAO. 2011b. Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 7. Rome (http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0055e/ba0055e00.htm).

FAO. 2011c. Report of the International Technical Expert Workshop: Exploring the Need for Specific Measures for Access and Benefit-Sharing Of Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. CGRFA-13/11/Circ.1. Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Thirteenth Regular Session, Rome, 18–22 July 2011. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/022/mb393e.pdf).

FAO. 2012. Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources – 2012. Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Fourteenth Regular Session, Rome 15–19 April 2013. CGRFA-14/13/Inf.15. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/027/mg044e.pdf).

FAO. 2013. In vivo conservation of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 14. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3327e/i3327e00.htm).

FAO. 2014. Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources – 2014. Information Document, Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome 26–28 November 2014. CGRFA/WG-AnGR-8/14/Inf.5. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-at136e.pdf).

Köhler-Rollefson, I., Kakar, A.R., Mathias, E., Rathore, H.S. & Wanyama, J. 2012. Biocultural community protocols: tools for securing the assets of livestock keepers. Participatory Learning and Action, 65 (Biodiversity and culture: exploring community protocols, rights and consent): 109–118.

Köhler-Rollefson, I. Mathias, E., Singh, H., Vivekanandan, P. & Wanyama, J. 2010a. Livestock Keepers’ Rights: The State of Discussion. Animal Genetic Resources, 47: 1–5 (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1823t/i1823t00.pdf).

Köhler-Rollefson, I., Vivekanandan, P. & Rathore, H.S. 2010b. Livestock Keepers Rights and Biocultural Protocols: tools for protecting biodiversity and the livelihoods of the poor. LEISA India, 12(1): 35–36.

Köhler-Rollefson, I. & Wanyama, J. (eds.). 2003. The Karen Commitment. Proceedings of a conference of indigenous livestock breeding communities on animal genetic resources. Karen, Kenya, 27–30 October 2003. Bonn, Germany, German NGO Forum on Environment & Development (available at http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/karen.pdf).

Mäki-Tanila, A. & Hiemstra, S.J. 2010. Regional issues on animal genetic resources: trends, policies and networking in Europe. Animal Genetic Resources, 47: 125–136 (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1823t/i1823t00.pdf).

WIPO. 2014. Patent landscape report on animal genetic resources, by P. Oldham, S. Hall & C. Barnes. Geneva, Switzerland (available at http://tinyurl.com/q5xbd2y).

1See “About this publication” in the preliminary pages of the report for more information on the reporting process.

2All reporting countries were included in the analysis of the level of implementation regardless of their reported level of “on-paper” provision.

3For information on the reporting process, see “About this publication” in the preliminary pages of this report.

4Reports were received from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Southwest Pacific, and West and Central Africa. The Asian Animal Genetic Resources Network was not in operation at the time. All regional progress reports are available on FAO’s web site: http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/genetics/Reporting_system_2007-11.html#secondo

9FAO, 2007a, page 291.

10FAO, 2007a, Figures 44 to 46 and Table 58 (pages 205–213).

11Countries had the opportunity to request amendments during the reviewing process.

Section B

Characterization, inventory and monitoring

1Introduction

Characterization, inventory and monitoring of animal genetic resources (AnGR) are essential to their sustainable management. Information on breeds’ characteristics facilitates effective planning of how and where they can best be used and developed. Assessing risk status (the likelihood that breeds will become extinct if no remedial action is taken) is a key element of AnGR management at national level. This requires information on the size and structure (number of female and male breeding animals, proportion of females breeding pure, total number of herds, geographical distribution, etc.) of breed populations and how these change over time. A range of different approaches and specific tools are available for use in gathering information on the characteristics of individual animals and livestock populations (FAO, 2011a; 2011b; 2012). The state of the art in this field is described in Part 4 Sections A and B, the latter focusing specifically on molecular genetic tools.

This section provides an overview of the state of implementation of characterization, inventory and monitoring activities, based on the information provided in the country reports (see the introduction to Part 3 for an overview of the country coverage and the use of the national breed population as a unit of analysis). The country-report questionnaire included two subsections focused on characterization activities. The first of these requested countries to provide information on the extent to which their national breed populations have been subject to various types of characterization study (see Box 3B1). Countries were obliged to provide this information for the “big five” livestock species (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens). Providing information on other species was optional. The other subsection addressed countries’ progress in implementing Strategic Priority Area 1 of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (Characterization, Inventory and Monitoring of Trends and Associated Risks). In this subsection, countries were required to report on the state of development of institutional and organizational arrangements for activities in this field, as well as on the state of implementation of various activities. Countries also had the opportunity to describe constraints to the implementation of activities in this strategic priority area. Detailed analysis is provided in the Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources – 2014 (FAO, 2014a).

2Development of national breed inventories

A national breed inventory is a comprehensive list of the breeds present in a country. Given that the breed is the unit of management for many AnGR-related activities, including conservation programmes, establishing a complete inventory is an important objective. Figure 3B1 presents a region by region summary of the reported state of countries’ national breed inventories, including whether or not progress has been made since the adoption of the Global Plan of Action. The results show that while many countries have made progress in improving their inventories in recent years, a majority (63 percent) still consider that their inventories are incomplete.

3Baseline surveys and monitoring of population sizes

This subsection focuses on activities undertaken in order to obtain data on the size and structure of national breed populations. The term “baseline survey” is used to refer to an initial data-gathering exercise that provides sufficient data to allow a breed population’s risk status to be assessed accurately; ongoing activities that provide the data needed to track a breed’s risk status over time are referred to as “monitoring” (FAO, 2011b). The state of implementation of surveying and monitoring activities for the “big five” species, grouped by region and subregion, is presented in Table 3B1. Results broken down by species are presented in Tables 3B2 and 3B3.

The country-report data indicate that baseline surveys have been conducted for 53 percent of national breed populations belonging to the big five species; 44 percent of national breed populations are monitored regularly. It is important to note here that the world figures are greatly influenced (in a positive direction) by those from the Europe and the Caucasus region, which accounts for a large proportion (48 percent) of the total number of reported national breed populations in the big five species. In this region, the majority (64 percent) of national breed populations (all figures refer to the big five species) are monitored regularly. However, a substantial proportion of national breed populations (32 percent) have not been subject even to a baseline survey. The coverage of both baseline surveys and monitoring programmes is high (92 percent coverage) in North America. Elsewhere in the world, a few subregions – East Africa, Southern Africa and Central Asia – have a relatively high proportion (more than 50 percent) of national breed populations that have been subject to baseline surveys, but the overall figures for developing regions are low. The coverage of monitoring programmes also varies from subregrion to subregion: relatively high (more than 30 percent) in Southern Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and Central America, but low or very low elsewhere.

Country-report responses on the state of implementation of the Global Plan of Action show that approximately 45 percent of countries consider that they have fully implemented baseline surveys for breeds in all livestock species of economic importance. In contrast, almost 20 percent of countries report that no baseline surveys at all have been undertaken in any of their national breed populations. The remaining countries report partial coverage. In the case of monitoring programmes, 30 percent of countries report full coverage of breeds in all important livestock species, 30 percent report partial coverage and 40 percent report that they have no monitoring activities. Progress since the adoption of the Global Plan of Action has been encouraging, but unspectacular, overall. About 20 percent of countries report that the coverage of their monitoring programmes has increased since 2007. Approximately 30 percent report at least some new baseline surveys.

With regard to the state of organizational arrangements for monitoring programmes, almost 60 percent of countries report that they have allocated institutional responsibilities for monitoring programmes and about 35 percent that they have established protocols (details of schedules, objectives and methods) for such programmes.

4Phenotypic and molecular genetic characterization

The level of implementation of various types of phenotypic and molecular genetic characterization study in the big five species is summarized in Figure 3B2 and Table 3B4. Because it was likely to be difficult for countries to provide precise information on the number of breed populations subject to specific types of study, the country-report questionnaire requested them to score the level of coverage, as follows: high (approximately >67 percent of breeds); medium (approximately 33 to 67 percent of breeds); low (approximately <33 percent of breeds); or none (no coverage). Figure 3B2 shows the proportion of answers falling into each category, broken down on the left by species and on the right by region. Table 3B4 presents a summary of the same data based on the average level of implementation at regional level.

Given that countries were not asked to provide precise breedwise data, the presentations do not reveal the exact proportion of breeds at global and regional levels subject to each type of study. There was clearly also some scope for differential interpretation of how much characterization work is necessary to qualify a breed as “characterized” as opposed to “non-characterized” under the scoring system. Moreover, it is possible that in some countries the reporting authorities were not aware of all relevant studies. Nonetheless, the country-level data appear to indicate many gaps in the coverage of characterization studies. For almost all combinations of species and type of study, a majority of countries report either no coverage or low coverage. Phenotypic characterization has been more widely implemented than the other activities. Across all categories, dairy cattle are more likely to have high or medium levels of coverage than other species (and other types of cattle). North America and Europe and the Caucasus, have higher levels of coverage than other regions, but many gaps in coverage remain even in these regions.

As noted in the introduction to this section, providing information on characterization activities targeting breeds other than the big five was not a compulsory element of the country-reporting process. Nevertheless, countries had the option of providing information on these species (equivalent to that provided for the big five). Results for buffaloes, horses, asses, dromedaries, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, geese and guinea fowl are shown in Figure 3B3. As with Figure 3B2, the bar charts indicate the proportion of responses (equivalent here to the proportion of countries) corresponding to each level of implementation. As providing information was not obligatory, a number of countries that reported the presence of a given species provided no indication of the level of implementation of characterization studies. The bar charts, therefore, in contrast to those for the big five, include a “no answer” category. The figure shows that, as in the case of the big five species, many gaps remain in the coverage of characterization studies. Phenotypic characterization has, again, been relatively widely implemented. Across the range of different activities, characterization of horses, and with some exceptions buffaloes, is more advanced than that of the other species.

Country reporting on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action indicates that many countries have made progress in AnGR characterization since 2007. In the case of both phenotypic and molecular genetic characterization, the majority of countries either report improvements or report that comprehensive studies had already been undertaken before 2007. Unfortunately, a substantial minority of countries remain at a low level of coverage and have not made any progress in recent years. Both the extent of coverage and the extent of progress are lower in the case of molecular genetic studies than in the case of phenotypic studies.

5Constraints to characterization, surveying and monitoring

As noted above, the country-report questionnaire requested countries to provide information on the major barriers and obstacles preventing them from improving their inventory, characterization and monitoring programmes. Lack of funding was the most commonly mentioned constraint, followed by lack of human capacity (technical skills and knowledge). Other constraints mentioned included lack of infrastructure and technical resources (including for data management); lack of awareness on the part of policy-makers and livestock keepers; and lack of adequate policies and planning in the field of characterization, surveying and monitoring. Some countries mentioned practical difficulties associated with the large size of the country or the location of livestock in remote areas, on small farms or in mobile production systems. A few countries mentioned problems associated with a lack of coordination – or a lack of willingness to share information – among stakeholders (e.g. breeders’ associations and private companies).

6Conclusions and priorities

The results presented above need to be treated with some caution because of possible missing data, and inter-country variations in interpretation of the scoring systems and the use of breed concept. Nonetheless, it is clear that in most regions of the world there are major gaps in the coverage of characterization activities and hence major gaps in knowledge about the characteristics of AnGR. Similarly, there are major gaps in programmes for monitoring trends in the size and structure of breed populations and hence the current risk status of many breeds is unknown. These gaps in knowledge inevitably hamper the sustainable use, development and conservation of AnGR. Weaknesses are particularly marked in the developing regions of the world. Research priorities in the field of characterization are discussed in Part 4 Sections A and B.

Strategic priorities for improving the state of inventory, characterization and monitoring are set out in the Global Plan of Action, which recognizes the fundamental importance of improving the state of knowledge of AnGR. Many countries have made some progress in implementing these priorities. However, progress is often constrained by a lack of human and financial resources. The need to strengthen capacity in this field is recognized in the Global Plan of Action as follows:

“Establish or strengthen, in partnership with other countries, as appropriate, relevant research, training and extension institutions, including national and regional agricultural research systems, to support efforts to characterize, inventory and monitor trends and associated risks, sustainably use and develop, and conserve animal genetic resources”.^1^

The evidence from the country reports suggests that this recommendation remains highly relevant.

Lack of funding is a widespread constraint to improving many aspects of the management of AnGR. The Global Plan of Action recognizes both the need for “substantial and additional financial resources” and the need for predictable allocation of such resources. The latter may be particularly significant for ongoing activities such as monitoring programmes. Unfortunately, the country reports indicate that improving funding is one of the elements of the Global Plan of Action for which least progress has been made to date (FAO, 2014a) (see Table 3F2 in Part 3 Section F).

While monitoring programmes are far from comprehensive in terms of breed coverage, in most species a majority of national populations are reported to be subject to regular population monitoring. Here there appears to be a discrepancy with the level of reporting of breed population data at international level, i.e. the entry by countries of their national data into the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) (see Part 1 Section B). For example, 78 percent of national breed population figures in DAD-IS were not updated once during the four years preceding the preparation of this report (FAO, 2014b). If data are available at national level, it is important that they are entered into DAD-IS so that global trends can be monitored more effectively.

Another issue that may require attention is the institutional framework for the surveying and monitoring of AnGR. The Global Plan of Action recognizes the need to “encourage the establishment of institutional responsibilities and infrastructure for monitoring of trends …” Establishing an effective surveying and monitoring programme requires not only funds and human resources, but also clear allocation of responsibilities for overall coordination and for specific tasks (organization of surveys, provision of data to national authorities, etc.). Objectives, relevant to national data requirements and feasible in terms of national capacities, need to be defined and support from stakeholders needs to be ensured. The country reports indicate that some progress has been made in terms of improving institutional arrangements for surveying and monitoring, but that large gaps remain. Advice on the development of national strategies in this field, including institutional arrangements and stakeholder involvement, is provided in the FAO guidelines Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2011b). The guidelines Phenotypic characterization of animal genetic resources and Molecular genetic characterization of animal genetic resources (FAO, 2011a; 2012) also provide advice on how to ensure that characterization studies are relevant to national requirements. All three guidelines provide practical advice on the organization of characterization and monitoring activities.

The country reports reveal gaps in implementation across all the activities discussed in this section. Specific priorities for action will depend on national circumstances. However, in many countries the basic task of establishing a full inventory of national breeds has not been completed. Similarly, for many recognized breeds, phenotypic characteristics – morphology, performance in specific production environments, degree of adaptedness to specific diseases or climatic challenges, and so on – have been inadequately studied. Gaps are particularly prominent in developing countries, which means that the characteristics of the locally adapted breeds of these countries have been poorly characterized and that the comparative performance of different breeds in the production conditions of these countries has been inadequately assessed. If these gaps are not addressed, it will be difficult or impossible to manage locally adapted breeds sustainably and ensure that their potential is realized.

References

Country reports. 2014. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e01.htm.

FAO. 2011a. Molecular genetic characterization of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 11. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/i2413e/i2413e00.htm).

FAO. 2011b. Surveying and monitoring of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 7. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/ba0055e/ba0055e00.htm).

FAO. 2012. Phenotypic characterization of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 11. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2686e/i2686e00.htm).

FAO. 2014a. Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources – 2014. Information Document. Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome 26–28 November 2014. CGRFA/WG-AnGR-8/14/Inf.5. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-at136e.pdf).

FAO. 2014b. Status and trends of animal genetic resources – 2014. Information Document. Eighth Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Rome, 26–28 November 2014. CGRFA/WG-AnGR-8/14/Inf. 4. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-at135e.pdf).

1Strategic Priority 13, Action 3.

Section C

Breeding programmes

1Introduction

This section draws on the information provided in the country reports to present an analysis of the state of implementation of livestock breeding programmes and of capacity to implement them (see the introduction to Part 3 for an overview of the country coverage and the use of the national breed population as a unit of analysis). The state of the art in breeding programmes is described separately in Part 4 Section C. Breeding programmes were defined in the country-report questionnaire as follows:

“systematic and structured programmes for changing the genetic composition of a population towards a defined breeding goal (objective) to realize genetic gain (response to selection), based on objective performance criteria.

Breeding programmes typically contain the following elements:

  • definition of breeding goal;
  • identification of animals;
  • performance testing;
  • estimation of breeding values;
  • selection;
  • mating; and
  • transfer of genetic gain.

Breeding programmes are usually operated either by a group of livestock breeders organized in a breeders’ association, community-based entity or other collective body; by a large commercial breeding company; or by the government.”

In addition to reporting on programmes of this type, countries also provided information on other activities and strategies aimed at improving the quality of their livestock populations in genetic terms, i.e. measures taken to promote cross-breeding or the wider use of breeds perceived to be more productive.

This section provides an update of the material on the state of capacity in genetic improvement programmes presented in the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a).1 The country-report questionnaire addressed the main themes covered in the first SoW-AnGR. However, because of the different reporting methods, most of the findings presented below are not directly comparable to those presented in the earlier publication.

2Global overview

For each of the so-called “big five” species (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens), the majority of country reports indicate the presence of breeding programmes (Table 3C1). The figures are higher for cattle (around 90 percent each for the dairy, beef and multipurpose categories) than for the other species (around 80 percent in all cases). While the figures appear to show that breeding programmes are widespread, in some cases the activities referred to in the country reports do not seem to be breeding programmes in the strict sense of the term (see introduction). Many countries report the presence of breeding programmes, but also that some of the key elements of breeding programmes are not in place for any of their breeds. For this reason, the figures presented in the table need to be treated with some caution. It should also be noted that the figures merely indicate the presence of at least one programme targeting the respective species. The numbers of breeds covered may be high or low, as may the effectiveness and reach of the programmes.

The regional breakdown presented in Table 3C1 shows that programmes for beef and dairy cattle are widespread in almost all regions and subregions (dairy cattle programmes in North and West Africa are the main exception). Gaps are more widespread in the case of multipurpose cattle (e.g. in South Asia, the Near and Middle East and Central America) and even more so in other species (e.g. sheep, pigs and chickens across most subregions of Africa; and sheep and goats in East Asia and the Southwest Pacific).

In the case of species other than the big five, the proportion of countries indicating that they have breeding programmes in place is generally low (Table 3C2). Only in the case of horses (74 percent), buffaloes (58 percent) and Bactrian camels (80 percent), do the majority of countries reporting the presence of the respective species indicate that they have breeding programmes in place.

3Stakeholder involvement

The systematic implementation of breeding programmes requires stable organizational structures. Programmes can be organized by public-sector bodies, by the private sector, by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or via collaborative efforts involving more than one sector. Table 3C3 summarizes the information provided in the country reports regarding the sectors and groups of stakeholders that operate breeding programmes (i.e. take the leading or organizational role in the operation of such programmes). For the purposes of this analysis, the private and non-governmental sectors are divided into the following categories:

  • national commercial companies (companies based in the respective reporting country);
  • external commercial companies (companies based outside the reporting country);
  • breeders’ associations or cooperatives (membership organizations in which individual livestock breeders join together to pursue common goals);
  • NGOs (NGOs that are not breeders’ associations: e.g. those involved in promoting rural development); and
  • livestock keepers organized at community level (community-level structures, whether traditional or newly established, that enable livestock keepers to act collectively to organize genetic improvement activities).

At global level, the most frequently reported operators of breeding programmes are governments and breeders’ associations. However, there are major differences between regions in terms of the reported significance of these two categories. Breeders’ associations are frequently reported in Europe and the Caucasus and North America, but much less so in most developing regions. Latin America and the Caribbean (or more specifically the Central and South America subregions) is a partial exception to this pattern. Conversely, government-operated programmes are reported more frequently in all developing regions (most particularly in Asia and the Near and Middle East) than in Europe and the Caucasus and North America. No government-operated programmes are reported in the latter region. Programmes operated by national and external commercial companies are reported from all regions of the world (most frequently the Southwest Pacific, North America, and Central and South America). The species involved are most commonly chickens, pigs or dairy cattle (see supplementary tables A3C1, A3C6 and A3C7).2 Programmes operated by livestock keepers organized at community level are quite widely reported across all developing regions. However, the country reports generally provide little information about the nature of these programmes. Programmes operated by NGOs are reported in most regions, but with relatively low frequency in most cases (highest levels in Central America, the Southwest Pacific and Central Asia).

Whatever sector takes the leading role in organizing a breeding programme, a range of different tasks need to be addressed. A variety of different stakeholders may be involved in each of these tasks, either in terms of planning (e.g. identifying breeding goals and planning how the programme will be organized) or in terms of practical implementation (e.g. recording animals’ performance, undertaking genetic evaluations or delivering artificial insemination services). These activities can be thought of as the “building blocks” of breeding programmes. Some of these building blocks can serve a number of different purposes, i.e. they can contribute not only to breeding programmes, but also to other aspects of livestock development. For example, animal identification can facilitate disease control, prevention of livestock theft and the delivery of support payments (FAO, 2015). Performance recording can play a role in herd management. Thus, the building blocks may be in place even if no breeding programmes are yet in operation.

Countries were asked both to provide information on the level of implementation of the various building blocks of breeding programmes and to report on the level of involvement of different stakeholders in their implementation. Because some of these activities can be undertaken by individual livestock keepers, and because of the prominent role of research organizations in undertaking some of them, these two stakeholder categories were included in the list of options provided in the country-report questionnaire. Countries were asked to provide scores for the level of involvement of the various categories. The responses (with respect to the big five species) are summarized in Figure 3C1.

Governments, research organizations, breeders’ associations and individual livestock breeders/keepers are reported to play relatively prominent roles across all activities, both in ruminants and monogastrics. In the case of commercial companies, involvement in most activities is markedly higher in monogastrics and dairy cattle than in other types of livestock. The role of NGOs is reported to be limited across all categories of activity. The global figures conceal some regional differences. As in the case of the figures presented in Table 3C3, the roles of breeders’ associations are generally more prominent than those of governments in developed regions, while the opposite is the case in developing regions.

Figure 3C2 shows the distribution of countries where breeders’ associations are reported either to operate breeding programmes or to have some involvement in implementing the elements of breeding programmes. As noted above, the term “breeding programme” appears not to have been interpreted uniformly across all the country reports and the same may be true of the phrase “operating a breeding programme”. It is therefore possible that the number of countries shown to have programmes operated by breeders’ associations (i.e. as green rather than yellow on the map) may be an overestimate.

4Educational, research and organizational capacities

The successful development and operation of breeding programmes requires a high level of technical capacity and knowledge on the part of the stakeholders involved. Many country reports mention limited knowledge on the part of livestock keepers and technicians as a significant constraint to the implementation of breeding programmes. Analysis of country-report responses on the general state of education and training in the field of animal genetic resources (AnGR) is presented in Part 3 Section A. However, countries were also asked specifically to provide scores (none, low, medium or high) for the state of education and training in the field of animal breeding. The responses are summarized in Figure 3C3. The global cumulative score of 12 out of a potential maximum of 21 illustrates that there is a major deficit in the provision of education and training in this field. Africa and the Near and Middle East are the regions reporting the lowest levels of provision. Responses related to the state of implementation the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources reveal a similar picture (Figure 3C4). Approximately 31 percent of reporting countries consider that their provision of training and technical-support programmes for the breeding activities of livestock-keeping communities is at an adequate level; 43 percent report that they have some programmes of this type in place, but that they require improvement; 26 percent report that they have no such programmes. Moreover, 39 percent report that they have made no progress in terms of improving provisions since the Global Plan of Action was adopted in 2007.

Countries were also asked to report on the state of their research activities in the field of animal breeding, again by providing a score. The responses are summarized in Figure 3C5. On a global scale, as in the case of training, there is a major gap between the current level of research activity and the potential maximum (high level of research in all countries for all species). In practice, the effect of this shortfall is likely to be reduced by the diffusion of research results from one country to another. However, the concentration of research in certain regions or countries may increase the likelihood that some production systems and species are inadequately covered. Moreover, there may be constraints to the diffusion of knowledge, particularly into less-developed countries. Scores for the state of research are highest in North America and Europe and the Caucasus, and lowest in Africa.

As noted above, breeding programmes are complex undertakings that involve a range of different tasks. Establishing a successful breeding programme requires not only the technical capacity to undertake these tasks, but also organizational structures that enable these tasks to be carried out systematically and on a sufficiently large scale. This is likely to require substantial and well-organized involvement of the livestock keepers that raise the respective breeds. Countries were asked to report (again by providing a score) on the level of livestock-keeper organization with respect to animal breeding (taking all the various elements of breeding programmes into account). The responses are summarized in Table 3C4. Scores for the level of organization are highest in Europe and the Caucasus, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America and lowest in Africa, the Southwest Pacific and the Near and Middle East.

5Breeding methods and activities

An overview of the status of breeding programmes is presented above (Subsection 2). This subsection presents an analysis of the level of implementation of the various elements of breeding programmes and of the types of programmes that are in operation, specifically the prevalence of programmes that involve cross-breeding.

Countries were asked to indicate the number of exotic and locally adapted breed populations for which breeding goals have been defined and in which the following activities are being implemented:

  • animal identification;
  • recording of pedigrees;
  • recording of animal performance;
  • use of artificial insemination (AI);
  • implementation of genetic evaluation following the classic approach (i.e. not including the use of genomic information);
  • implementation of genetic evaluation including the use of genomic information; and
  • management of genetic variation by maximizing the effective population size or minimizing the rate of inbreeding.

The findings are presented in Table 3C5 (broken down by region), in Table 3C6 (broken down by species) and in the supplementary tables.3

The figures presented in the tables show that no breeding goal has been defined for almost half of all reported national breed populations. There are also major gaps in the breed coverage of other fundamental breeding-programme elements, such as animal identification and the recording of pedigrees and performance. Even where activities are reported, their impacts may be limited. The figures give no indication of the level of coverage within the breed population. Given that the management of locally adapted breeds is generally considered to be neglected relative to that of exotic breeds, it is interesting to note that in many cases (i.e. species × technique combinations) coverage is higher among locally adapted breeds than among their exotic counterparts. Two points should be noted in this regard. First, where continuously imported exotic breeds are concerned, the national population is likely to benefit from the effects of breeding programmes operating in other countries, i.e. stakeholders may consider that there is no need to establish a breeding programme at national level (the disadvantage may be a lack of fine-tuning to the needs of local production systems).4 Second, some of the exotic breeds reported may be present in very small numbers, having been imported by hobbyists or on an experimental basis. These populations may not be intended for use as production animals and therefore the absence of breeding programmes for them may not be particularly significant.

Across almost all the activities covered in Table 3C5, Europe and the Caucasus, North America and the Southwest Pacific5 are well ahead of the other regions in terms of breed coverage, at least where locally adapted breeds are concerned. Artificial insemination is a partial exception to this rule, a fact that is probably explained, in part, by the species imbalance in the regional figures, i.e. the developed regions have relatively more breeds belonging to species other than cattle. The use of genomic information in genetic evaluation is reported to be very limited everywhere except the Southwest Pacific (because of the responses from New Zealand) and North America. The species breakdown (Table 3C6) shows that for most of the activities described, the highest coverage is in dairy cattle breeds, beef cattle breeds and sheep breeds. Artificial insemination is again an exception, with multipurpose cattle and pigs having higher coverage than sheep. Chicken breeds have relatively low levels of coverage across all activities, probably reflecting the domination of the chicken subsector by a few high-output breeds and the large number of breeds raised either in backyard systems or by hobbyists.

Countries were also asked to indicate the prevalence (in terms of the number of exotic and locally adapted breed populations covered) of breeding programmes involving straight-breeding only and those involving both straight-breeding and cross-breeding. The responses are summarized for the big five species in Table 3C7. As in the case of the overview figures presented above (Subsection 2) the figures in both categories may be overestimates if a strict definition of the term “breeding programme” is applied. While it is clear that cross-breeding strategies are being pursued in all the regions of the world, in all species and in both breed categories, the nature of these strategies and the extent to which they are linked to straight-breeding programmes is not always clear.

The descriptions provided in the country reports indicate that a strategy of cross-breeding locally adapted breeds or “non-descript” populations with exotic breeds (often through the use of artificial insemination) is being widely pursued in developing countries. In many cases this strategy is being promoted by the country’s government as a means of rapidly increasing national output of livestock products. Well-planned cross-breeding can be an effective means of pursuing this objective. However, if not well planned, the anticipated benefits may not be realized. The extent to which the cross-breeding activities referred to in the country reports form part of organized strategies is not always clear, neither is the extent to which such strategies, where they are in place, are effectively implemented. Consequences in terms of production levels (and in terms of livelihoods, genetic diversity and the environment) are often unmonitored. In all developing regions, a large proportion of countries (75 percent in Africa, 50 percent in Asia, 85 percent in the Southwest Pacific, 70 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 85 percent in the Near and Middle East) report that they have not undertaken an assessment of the impact of the use of exotic breeds.6

6Breeding policies

A majority of countries report that they have national policies in place to support breeding progammes or influence their objectives (Figure 3C6). Dairy cattle breeding (75 percent of countries) is more frequently targeted than the breeding of any other species or type of animal. Chickens are the least targeted species among the big five (53 percent of countries). A number of countries in all regions except North America report the presence of breeding programmes but the absence of any policies in this field. A few countries, in contrast, report that they have no breeding programmes in place, but nonetheless have policies. In the case of most species, breeding policies are more prevalent in developed regions than elsewhere. These policies vary in terms of how much they aim to influence the objectives and implementation of breeding programmes. Some countries (e.g. the United States of America) leave decision-making very much in the hands of the private sector, while others (e.g. European countries, to varying degrees) take a more interventionist approach. Chicken-breeding policies are comparatively rare in Europe and the Caucasus (partly accounting for the low overall coverage of policies targeting this species). Asia has a high level of coverage in several species: 80 percent or higher in dairy and multipurpose cattle, goats, pigs and chickens. Latin America and the Caribbean has a similarly high level of coverage in the case of dairy cattle.

The reported policies vary in terms of their objectives and in terms of the extent to which they are being successfully implemented. As noted above, a number of countries are seeking to promote greater use of exotic breeds and cross-breeding. If not well planned and implemented, policies of this type can contribute to the erosion of locally adapted breeds (see Part 1 Section F).

The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources subsumes breeding programmes within the broader field of sustainable use and development (Strategic Priority Area 2) and calls for “national sustainable use polices”7 and “species and breed development strategies”8 that take a long-term perspective and consider, inter alia, the need to maintain sufficient genetic diversity. Implementation of these elements of the Global Plan of Action is moderately well advanced in terms of the number of countries having sustainable use policies in place (more than 50 percent of reporting countries). Considerable progress since the adoption of the Global Plan of Action in 2007 is reported. A majority of countries (close to 60 percent) also report that they have “long-term sustainable use planning” in place for at least some species and breeds. These figures, however, clearly also indicate that large gaps remain in the coverage of sustainable use policies. National breeding policies are discussed in greater detail in the regional overviews presented below.

7Regional overviews

7.1Africa

Breeding programmes in Africa are often based on governmental farms from which breeding animals and/or genetic material are distributed to livestock keepers. The main reported constraints to the development of more effective programmes in this region are a lack of funding, a lack of technical knowledge at all levels and a lack of organizational structures, particularly with respect to livestock-keeper participation in activities such as animal identification and performance recording.

The development of breeders’ associations and their involvement in the operation of breeding programmes have generally been limited in Africa, although they are playing an increasing role in some countries. The country report from South Africa, for example, notes that 72 breed societies “set standards and assist with evaluations” within the framework of the country’s national animal-recording and improvement schemes, operated by its Agricultural Research Council’s Animal Production Institute. The report from Namibia mentions that breed societies “ensure that their breeders identify animals correctly, determine whether animal recording should be mandatory … and decide whether genetic evaluations should be undertaken.” Nonetheless, the majority of the country’s livestock keepers are reported not to be involved in any structured breeding programmes. In some countries, breeders’ associations have been established, but their practical activities remain at a low level. Rwanda reports that breeders’ associations participate in the country’s “livestock working group” and that their advice is taken into consideration in the setting of breeding goals. They also play a limited role in animal identification, performance recording and the provision of artificial insemination services in some species.

Some countries report efforts to establish community-based breeding programmes. Where successful examples of programmes of this kind are reported, they are mainly operated by international research institutions or development NGOs. In Ethiopia, for example, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) have both established some community-based breeding programmes for small ruminants.

Cross-breeding of locally adapted breeds with high-output exotic breeds (often via the use of artificial insemination) is widely reported. The extent to which these efforts are organized or promoted by the government varies from country to country, as does the extent to which steps are taken to minimize the risk of indiscriminate cross-breeding. The country report from Uganda notes that Boer goats (a breed originally imported from South Africa) are raised on government farms and bucks made available to goat keepers for cross-breeding with their indigenous animals. Goat keepers are trained in how to avoid indiscriminate cross-breeding and also in performance-recording techniques.

7.2Asia

The design and implementation of breeding programmes in Asia is generally very dependent on the public sector, with research organizations often playing a significant role (Table 3C3). Nonetheless, approaches to the implementation of breeding programmes vary greatly across the region and there are many specificities at country and subregional levels.

In Central Asia, policies that foster cross-breeding with exotic breeds are widespread. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, for example, cross-breeding has been heavily used in dairy cattle, and to a lesser extent in sheep to improve meat production and in goats to improve milk production. The Iranian country report notes that breeding policies will in future continue to promote cross-breeding in dairy cattle, but that in beef cattle, sheep and goats the intention is to give greater attention to the genetic potential of locally adapted breeds. While in some countries livestock keepers are organized into breeders’ associations and cooperatives that participate in the implementation of breeding programmes, this is not the case everywhere in the subregion. The country report from Kazakhstan notes that the intention is to concentrate breeding activities on large collective farms. The country also intends to establish a well-organized system for the use of imported genetic material (Box 3C2).

In East Asia, breeding programmes for the main livestock species are in place in the majority of countries. Programmes are government driven, but livestock keepers are well organized in most countries (Tables 3C3 and 3C4). Breeding programmes in Mongolia are less well developed than those in the other reporting countries in this subregion. The country reports two major constraints to the establishment of breeding programmes: the difficulty of organizing pedigree and performance recording in its extensive production systems, where livestock are unconfined and mating is usually uncontrolled; and livestock keepers’ reluctance to participate in government-driven breeding programmes.

In South and Southeast Asia, governments are also generally quite active in the development of breeding policies and in the implementation of breeding programmes. However, the presence of large numbers of small-scale livestock keepers and the lack of breeders’ associations lead to difficulties with the organizational aspects of breeding programmes. Breeding strategies in these subregions usually have a strong focus on cross-breeding with high-output exotic breeds. Governments often facilitate the distribution of breeding material from such breeds. While breeding policies in several countries in these subregions have successfully contributed to increasing production levels, a lack of attention to locally adapted breeds has led to their genetic erosion via indiscriminate cross-breeding and breed replacement. Commercial companies are implementing breeding programmes in some countries, mainly in pigs and chickens. These programmes operate on a small scale, but their importance seems to be growing. The country report from Malaysia, for example, states that future progress will depend on the private sector becoming the main driver of breeding programmes.

7.3Southwest Pacific

In New Zealand and Australia,9 breeding programmes are long established and very well developed. Attention is focused largely on the development and improvement of a narrow range of species and breeds. Breeders’ associations and livestock keepers’ cooperatives play key roles. Breeding programmes are organized by these bodies, and a large proportion of livestock keepers participate in them. Government and research institutions support some activities, but decision-making lies in the hands of the livestock keepers.

In the small island countries of the Southwest Pacific, breeding programmes are rare and where they exist are in their early stages of development (it should be noted in this context that given the small size of these countries attempting to establish independent breeding programmes is not necessarily an appropriate strategy). Livestock-keeper organizations are not well developed and the few breeding programmes mentioned in the country reports are government driven. Private companies are sometimes involved, but there is little participation on the part of individual breeders. The most commonly reported activity is the importation and distribution of exotic breeds to replace locally adapted breeds or for cross-breeding with them. The country report from Samoa describes plans to involve large commercial farms as multipliers within a pyramidal breeding system as a means of meeting demand for breeding animals. The multipliers will be supplied with breeding animals from government-run nucleus farms, and in turn supply individual farmers.

7.4Europe and the Caucasus

In the majority of the countries of Europe and the Caucasus, the livestock sector is well developed, and breeding programmes are long established and well organized (Tables 3C4 and 3C5 and Figure 3C6). In most European countries, breeders’ associations are well organized and play a key role in the operation of breeding programmes (Table 3C3). In a number of countries (e.g. the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom) the government’s role in breeding programmes is largely restricted to providing support to breeders’ associations via research activities. Generally, governments supervise and monitor the implementation and performance of breeding programmes. They implement animal-identification schemes in which all livestock keepers have to participate regardless of whether or not they are members of breeders’ associations. They also support breeders’ associations by coordinating their work. Some countries (e.g. France and Spain) provide subsidies to support the work of breeders’ associations. Breeders’ associations organize and implement performance and pedigree recording, set and review breeding goals, ensure the consistency of activities contributing to the genetic improvement of the breed and, where they have the capacity, implement genetic evaluations. Research institutes and universities support breeders’ associations and governments in the theoretical and methodological aspects of genetic evaluation, as well as working on the development and refinement of breeding methods. There is, however, some variation across the region. In some countries, particularly in the Caucasus and parts of southeastern Europe, breeding programmes are relatively undeveloped, livestock-keeper organization is limited and breeders’ associations are rare.

Commercial companies are active in the region’s dairy cattle and pig-breeding sectors and dominate the poultry-breeding sector. They control most of the market for genetic resources in these sectors and work with a narrow range of breeds and lines. As a result of this focus, their roles in breeding programmes for locally adapted breeds of pigs, chickens and dairy cattle are usually limited.

Many European countries rely, to varying degrees, on the use of imported genetics. A number of countries report that this poses a threat to the survival of some of their locally adapted breeds (see Part 1 Section F). However, in some countries it has proved possible to combine a programme of development based on the use of exotic breeds with measures that ensure that locally adapted breeds are maintained and that appropriate genetic resources for use in more marginal production environments remain available (see, for example, Box 3C3).

7.5Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, breeding programmes are diverse in terms of the stake-holder groups involved in organizing and implementing them. Depending on the country and the species, breeding programmes may be operated by governments, breeders’ associations, commercial companies or livestock keepers organized at community level. However, some stakeholders are more important that others in terms of the implementation of specific breeding-programme elements. Governments are very active in the operation of animal-identification schemes. Breeders’ associations and individual livestock keepers are heavily involved in the definition of breeding goals and in the recording of performance data. Artificial insemination is mainly delivered by commercial companies. Research institutions are heavily involved in genetic evaluations.

In the Caribbean, breeding programmes are less developed than in Central and South America. Governments are the main operators of the few breeding programmes that are in place. The importation of exotic genetic material for cross-breeding with locally breeds is widespread. The best-developed breeding programmes are in the dairy-cattle sector, which is characterized by a relatively high level of livestock-keeper organization and the presence of commercial companies. The country report from Suriname, for example, notes that dairy cooperatives actively participate in the definition of breeding goals and also facilitate the provision of artificial insemination services. The report from Trinidad and Tobago mentions that a national commercial dairy company provides artificial insemination to some dairy farms, although on an irregular basis, and also records production data for some farms.

The majority of breeding programmes in Central and South America are implemented by breeders’ associations or commercial companies. Breeders’ associations generally receive support from the public sector, mainly via the work of research institutions, which are involved not only in genetic evaluation, but also on definition of breeding goals, in performance recording and in the organizational aspects of breeding programmes. Commercial companies – mainly national, but in some cases international – are very active in the region and operate breeding programmes for dairy and beef cattle, pigs and chickens, and to a lesser extent goats. The country report from Costa Rica notes that experiences gained in the implementation of cattle-breeding programmes are used to guide the development of programmes for small-ruminant species.

Cross-breeding strategies are reported to be quite widespread in Latin America (Table 3C7). Companies and research institutes have developed composite lines, mostly in beef cattle, but also in other species. Cross-breeding with exotic breeds (using both imported genetic material and genetic material sourced from within the region), and to a lesser extent with composite lines developed in the region, is widely used as a method of increasing production levels. Brazil reports a major increase in livestock productivity over recent years, brought about by the implementation of well-developed breeding programmes (Box 3C4). Research organizations at national and regional levels, as well as universities and breeders’ associations, are responsible for the majority of Brazil’s breeding programmes. In other countries (e.g. Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay), improvement of animal performance has been based on the importation of genetic material and efforts to establish breeding programmes for various livestock species are currently ongoing. Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia have established breeding programmes aimed at improving fibre quality in llamas and alpacas. Bolivian programmes include some operated by community-owned companies, the main such company, COPROCA, involves 1 200 camelid keepers. Peru reports breeding programmes for several “minor” species, including rabbits, ducks and guinea pigs.

7.6North America

In the United States of America, breeding programmes are technologically advanced and widely implemented in all the main livestock species. Cross-breeding strategies are widespread (Table 3C7). Breeders’ associations and individual livestock keepers are the main stakeholders involved in the operation of breeding programmes (Table 3C3). National and international commercial companies play a major role in cattle, pig and chicken breeding programmes. Advanced technologies such as genomic selection are widely used in dairy cattle breeding (see supplementary table A3C8).10 Decision-making regarding breeding activities rests with livestock keepers or commercial companies. Federal and state research organizations may develop means of evaluating traits that the livestock industry deems important, but responsibility for adapting and utilizing such approaches lies with the industry.

7.7Near and Middle East

The coverage and state of development of breeding programmes in the Near and Middle East are very limited. The programmes that do exist mainly involve sheep and goats and are based on governmental farms or breeding stations. The involvement of livestock keepers is very limited (see Box 3C5 for example). Selected animals, raised on governmental farms or imported, are distributed to livestock keepers with the aim of increasing production levels. Artificial insemination programmes operate on a limited scale.

8Changes since 2005

As noted in the introduction to this section, many of the data presented above are not directly comparable to those presented in the first SoW-AnGR. However, in both reporting processes countries provided information on the number of breeds subject to various breeding-related activities. The list was slightly expanded for the second reporting process, but results for the activities covered in both processes are presented in Figure 3C7 (for cattle breeds).

Because the first reporting process was not based on a structured questionnaire,11 comparable figures are available for only 35 countries.12 The results show that – at least as far as the 35 countries are concerned – the proportion of cattle breeds covered by all the various breeding-related activities reported upon has expanded since the time of the first SoW-AnGR reporting process. Is should, however, be noted that there are some differences between the pattern of development in OECD countries and that in non-OECD countries. In particular, coverage of genetic evaluation has increased much more sharply in OECD countries (46 percent to 70 percent) than in non-OECD countries, where it has remained almost stable at around 32 percent. Given the progress made in the implementation of other breeding-programme elements, addressing the coverage of genetic evaluations would appear to be the logical next step towards the more widespread establishment of effective breeding programmes.

9Conclusions and priorities

While the majority of countries report that they have at least some breeding progammes in place, the reported levels of implementation of the various elements of breeding programmes suggest that these programmes are often in a very rudimentary state – or in some cases non-existent in the sense of organized progammes involving the establishment of breeding goals, recording of performance, etc.

The involvement of stakeholder groups in the organization and implementation of breeding programmes varies greatly from region to region. In Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East, governments are the main players, while in North America, Europe and the Caucasus, Australia and New Zealand, responsibility for operating breeding programmes lies mainly in the hands of breeders’ associations and commercial companies, with various degrees of support from governments and research organizations, depending on the country. The involvement of breeders’ associations and commercial companies is also relatively well developed in parts of Latin America.

The first SoW-AnGR concluded that, where they existed, government-operated breeding programmes in developing countries tended to have limited impact because of a lack of interaction with livestock keepers. However, it also concluded that there were many constraints to the emergence of the “developed-country” model based on breeders’ associations and involving minimal governmental support, particularly with regard to the organizational structures needed to facilitate the involvement of individual livestock keepers and the relatively high levels of knowledge and technical skills required. The information provided in the country reports suggests that a number of these preconditions have still not been met in many countries. While there are some reported examples of progress, livestock-keeper organization frequently remains poorly developed, as do education and training in the field of livestock breeding.

Many countries have put policies in place aimed at improving the state of livestock breeding. In many developing countries, in particular, these policies focus mainly on the introduction of exotic breeds for use in cross-breeding, sometimes with little attention to the establishment of breeding programmes. Utilizing the genetic progress already made in exotic breeds has obvious attractions for countries seeking rapidly to boost their output of livestock products. The difficulty lies in the fact that while increasing the availability of exotic genetic material may be relatively straightforward, ensuring that it is used appropriately is more challenging.

While interest in expanding the use of exotic breeds is practically universal in developing countries, a number have also recognized the need to take greater advantage of the characteristics of their locally adapted breeds, particularly given the challenges associated with climate change and the ongoing need for livestock that are suitable for use by small-scale producers and in low-input production systems. In this context, improving the productivity of locally adapted breeds through the implementation of breeding programmes is, at least in theory, an appealing option, both because of the potential to derive benefits directly from increasing livestock productivity and because it may help to keep the breeds in use and hence available as resources for the future. However, for the reasons noted above, implementing such programmes is often challenging. Only a small number of developing countries report the successful establishment of community-based breeding programmes in medium- or low-input production systems.

On the positive side, the evidence provided in the country reports suggests that the level of implementation of several of the main elements of breeding programmes – in terms of the number of breeds covered – has increased in recent years. Major gaps, nonetheless, remain in all developing regions. Even where activities are reported to have become more widespread in terms of breed coverage, they may remain very restricted in terms of the proportion of the population covered within each breed. Animal identification appears to be the area where the most progress has been made, probably because of its multiple roles in livestock development.

As noted in the first SoW-AnGR, developing a national breeding strategy can be very challenging, particularly given that the information needed in order to assess the relative costs and benefits of different approaches is often unavailable. The existence of these knowledge gaps underlines the importance of strengthening efforts to characterize breeds and their production environments (see Part 3 Section B and Part 4 Sections A and B) and the need to keep track of trends and drivers of change in the livestock sector (see Part 2).

Countries have a range of different short-and longer-term objectives and often have to deal with a diverse range of production systems. Identifying specific priorities at national and production-system levels is therefore a matter for countries themselves. The information provided in the country reports suggests that, in more general terms, priorities will often include capacity-building at all levels from livestock-keepers to policy-makers, as well as strengthening the organizational structures needed in order to implement successful breeding programmes. Livestock-keeper involvement is frequently a weak point in existing programmes.

References

Country reports. 2014. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e01.htm.

Direction Générale de la Production Animale. 2011. Enquête de structure. Tunis, Ministère de l’Agriculture.

FAO. 2007a. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1250e/a1250e00.htm).

FAO. 2007b. Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1404e/a1404e00.htm).

FAO. 2015. Development of integrated multipurpose animal recording systems. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. Rome (in press).

PFHBPM. 2013. Analiza i podsumowanie wyników oceny wartości użytkowej bydła w 2013r. Polska Federacja Hodowców Bydła i Producentów Mleka.

Pokorska, J., Kułaj, D. & Ormian, M. 2012. Przyczyny brakowania krów rasy polskiej holsztyńsko-fryzyjskiej odmiany czarno-białej użytkowanych w fermie wielkotowarowej. Roczniki Naukowe Polskiego Towarzystwa Zootechnicznego, 8(2): 17–24.

Trela, J. & Choroszy, B. 2010. Wkład Instytutu Zootechniki Państwowego Instytutu Badawczego w rozwój i doskonalenie krajowej populacji bydła mlecznego. Wiadomości Zootechniczne, R. XLVIII (2010), 4: 3–30.

1FAO, 2007, Part 3 Section B (pages 215–241).

2Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

3Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

4Some locally adapted breeds are present in more than one country. However, international transfers of “improved” breeding animals and genetic material are dominated by a limited number of breeds. In the case of local breeds (i.e. breeds present in only one country) as opposed to transboundary breeds, importing genetic material is not an option as far as straight-breeding is concerned.

5New Zealand accounts for 56 percent of all the breed populations (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens) reported from the region and almost all of them are covered by the various breeding-programme elements considered.

6Figures refer to responses to a specific question addressing this topic included in the section of the country-report questionnaire addressing the state of implementation of the Global Plan of Action.

7FAO, 2007b, Strategic Priority 3.

8FAO, 2007b, Strategic Priority 4.

9Australia did not submit a country report as part of the second SoW-AnGR process. However, it prepared a country report at its own initiative in 2012.

10Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

11During the first SoW-AnGR process, countries were provided with predefined tables or “tabulation tools”, intended to facilitate the collection and analysis of information during the preparation of their country reports. Some countries included the completed tables in their country reports, while others did not.

12Albania, Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Croatia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Latvia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Swaziland, Sweden, Togo, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania and Uruguay.

Section D

Conservation programmes

1Introduction

This section presents a review of the state of conservation programmes based on information provided in the country reports (see the introduction to Part 3 for an overview of the country coverage and the use of the national breed population as a unit of analysis). Conservation actions are commonly grouped into three categories: in situ conservation; ex situ in vivo conservation; and ex situ in vitro conservation (see Part 4 Section D for a discussion of the state of the art in conservation methods). These categories were defined in the country-report questionnaire as follows:

  • In situ conservation: support for continued use by livestock keepers in the production system in which the livestock evolved or are now normally found and bred.
  • Ex situ in vivo conservation: maintenance of live animal populations not kept under their normal management conditions (e.g. in zoological parks or governmental farms) and/or outside the area in which they evolved or are now normally found.
  • Ex situ in vitro conservation: conservation under cryogenic conditions including, inter alia, the cryoconservation of embryos, semen, oocytes, somatic cells or tissues having the potential to reconstitute live animals at a later date.

The section is structured as follows. Subsection 2 presents an overview of the state of conservation programmes worldwide. Subsections 3 and 4 discuss in situ conservation programmes in more detail, including an analysis of the types of activities undertaken and whether they are managed by the public or private sectors. Subsection 5 discusses ex situ in vitro conservation programmes in greater depth, including an analysis of the types of material stored and the breed coverage. Subsection 6 presents a region by region overview of the state of conservation programmes. Subsection 7 presents an analysis of changes in the state of conservation programmes since the time the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a) was prepared. The final subsection presents some conclusions and discusses priority actions that need to be taken in order to improve the state of conservation programmes worldwide.

2Global overview

A comprehensive assessment of the state of global provision of conservation programmes would require breed-by-breed data on the presence or absence (and if present the effectiveness) of the various types of conservation programme that can be implemented, as well as on the risk status of the respective breeds. Requiring the inclusion of breedwise data on conservation activities in the country reports was not considered to be feasible (the major gaps that exist in risk-status data are discussed in Part 1 Section B). The country-report questionnaire therefore requested countries to provide scores (none, low, medium or high) for the extent to which their breed populations are covered by each of the three categories of conservation programmes. Given that some breeds may be in so secure state that they do not need to be included in a conservation programme, countries were asked to focus particularly on at-risk breeds. The main objective, as stated in the questionnaire, was to obtain an indication of the extent to which the countries’ programmes meet the objective of minimizing the risk of breed extinction. Countries where all breeds are regarded as secure had the option of indicating this as an explanation for the absence of programmes in a given category.

The majority (82 percent) of country reports indicate the presence of in situ conservation programmes for breeds belonging to at least one species. However, there is a lot of variation across the regions and subregions of the world (Table 3D1). In situ conservation programmes are reported by all countries in Europe and the Caucasus, Central Asia, East Asia and North America. North and West Africa (65 percent) and Central America (60 percent) are the subregions in which the lowest proportions of countries report the presence of in situ conservation programmes. It should be noted that these figures simply indicate the presence of conservation programmes. They provide no indication of how many breeds are targeted or how effective the programmes are.

Ex situ conservation programmes are less common than in situ programmes: 60 percent and 54 percent of countries report ex situ in vivo and ex situ in vitro programmes, respectively. The figures are particularly low in the Southwest Pacific (29 percent and 14 percent). However, 100 percent of East Asian countries report the presence of both types of programme.

While the overall figures indicate that conservation programmes are widespread, the country-report responses regarding the level of breed coverage indicate that in many countries programmes are far from comprehensive. This is illustrated, for example, by Figure 3D1, which shows average national breed coverage scores for in situ programmes at country level (taking into account the so-called “big five” species – cattle, chickens, pigs, sheep and goats). A more detailed breakdown, covering all three categories of conservation programme, is presented in Figure 3D2. High scores for breed coverage (i.e. comprehensive conservation programmes for a given species at national level) are rare globally: 23 percent in the case of in situ programmes; 7 percent in the case of ex situ in vivo programmes; and 8 percent in the case of ex situ in vitro programmes.1 The regional breakdown shows that the main exceptions are the coverage of in situ and ex situ in vitro programmes in North America and to a lesser extent in Europe and the Caucasus. The breed coverage of ex situ in vivo programmes is generally low even in developed regions, where this type of programme appears to be a low priority relative to the other two categories. This is probably explained by the fact that if effective in situ and ex situ in vitro programmes are in operation for a given breed, the addition of an ex situ in vivo programme may not provide much additional benefit in terms of reducing extinction risk (see Part 4 Section D). In all categories, high scores are more common in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia than in other developing regions.

Table 3D2 shows that, while in some regions breed coverage within a given category of programme is at a similar level across all species, in other regions some species are more comprehensively covered than others. For example, in the case of in situ programmes, sheep, pigs and multi-purpose cattle have the highest average scores in Europe and the Caucasus, dairy cattle in Latin America and the Caribbean, chickens in Asia and small ruminants in the Near and Middle East. In the case of ex situ in vitro programmes, the global totals indicate a higher level of coverage for cattle and sheep than for other species, although there are again some regional variations. Sub-regional breakdowns showing the three categories of conservation programme are presented in Tables 3D3, 3D4 and 3D5.

In addition to providing information on the big five species, countries also had the option of providing information on other species. The responses are summarized in Table 3D6. Countries that have programmes were probably more likely to respond than those that do not, so it is possible that the relatively high proportion of responding countries indicating the presence of conservation programmes and the relatively high breed coverage scores for these species are overestimates. Some of these species are widely distributed, but were only reported on by a few countries. In absolute terms, the number of countries reporting the presence of conservation programmes for some of these species is very low (e.g. eight countries report in situ programmes for asses, eight for geese, six for turkeys and ten for ducks).

3In situ conservation programmes – elements

In situ conservation programmes can include a wide range of different activities. The country-report questionnaire requested countries to indicate which activities (from a predefined list) form part of their in situ programmes and to indicate whether these activities are operated by the public or private sectors (or both). The twelve potential activities considered in the questionnaire are listed below (grouped into four categories for the purposes of analysis and discussion):

Activities focused on increasing demand for breed products and services

  1. Promotion of niche marketing or other market differentiation (including promotion via association of breeds with products having geographical indications or other indicators of origin):^2^ efforts to promote the marketing of a breed’s products to a subgroup of consumers who have particular preferences regarding, for example, product quality, the type of production system (e.g. high animal welfare or organic) or the association of products with particular geographical regions or traditions.
  2. Promotion of at-risk breeds as tourist attractions: the establishment of specific tourist attractions featuring at-risk breeds (e.g. farm parks) or efforts to promote the keeping of at-risk breeds as elements of attractive landscapes that appeal to tourists.
  3. Use of at-risk breeds in the management of wildlife habitats and landscapes: situations in which animals belonging to at-risk breeds are used deliberately to alter the environment (usually the vegetation) to create habitats suitable for wildlife or landscapes that are considered desirable by humans.
  4. Promotion of breed-related cultural activities: the promotion of cultural activities such as shows, festivals and sporting events in which at-risk breeds play a role.

Activities focused on incentivizing and supporting livestock keepers

  1. Incentives or subsidy payment schemes for keeping at-risk breeds: schemes under which livestock keepers receive payment (e.g. from the government) for keeping at-risk breeds.
  2. Recognition award programmes for breeders: schemes in which breeders that make a particular contribution to the conservation and sustainable use of a breed or breeds are honoured or recognized in some way (e.g. a programme of annual awards).
  3. Extension programmes to improve management of at-risk breeds: programmes that target the keepers of at-risk breeds with advice on how to manage them.
  4. Awarenessraising activities on the potential of specific at-risk breeds: activities that provide livestock keepers (or potential livestock keepers) with information on the potential (e.g. unique traits that may be valuable in particular circumstances) of specific at-risk breeds that might otherwise be overlooked.

Activities focusing on breeding programmes

  1. Conservation breeding programmes: breeding programmes that maintain breed-specific traits and limit inbreeding.
  2. Selection programmes for increased production or productivity in at-risk breeds: genetic improvement programmes for at-risk breeds that aim to increase their production and/or productivity and thereby promote their ongoing use by livestock keepers.

Activities focusing on community-level participation and empowerment

  1. Community-based conservation programmes: programmes in which the local people are the primary stakeholders responsible for the development and implementation of the activities undertaken to conserve their animal genetic resources (AnGR).
  2. Development of biocultural protocols: a biocultural protocol is a document that is developed after a community undertakes a consultative process to outline their core cultural and spiritual values and customary laws relating to their traditional knowledge and resources.

For further discussion of the elements of in situ conservation programmes, see Part 4 Section D and FAO (2013). The various listed activities are not necessarily completely distinct from each other. In particular, a community-based conservation programme is likely to include one or more of the other activities. Moreover, many of the activities are also not necessarily confined to conservation programmes, i.e. they can be implemented for a variety of reasons associated with livestock and rural development, environmental management, etc. The intention in the country-report questionnaire was to identify activities that are part of conservation programmes, i.e. deliberately being used to reduce the risk of genetic erosion or breed extinction. The information provided in the country reports was not always sufficient to determine whether or not this was the case.

The country-report responses are summarized in Tables 3D7 (species breakdown) and 3D8 (regional breakdown). It should be recalled that the figures only indicate the presence of a given activity as an element of conservation programmes within a given country for a given species. The activities are not necessarily widespread or well developed. The data presented in Figures 3D1 and 3D2 and in Table 3D2 indicate that, at least in developing regions, the majority of reported conservation activities are likely to be being undertaken only on a limited scale.

Globally, the most commonly reported activity is the implementation of conservation breeding programmes (74 percent of responses),3 followed by the promotion of niche marketing (68 percent), awareness-raising activities (63 percent), extension activities aimed at improving the management of at-risk breeds (53 percent) and breeding programmes aimed at increasing productivity in at-risk breeds (51 percent).

The popularity of niche marketing as an element of conservation programmes may be because of its potential to become self-sustaining, eventually removing the need for support from government or other external sources. Niche marketing is reported to be widespread in conservation programmes for all species, although relatively uncommon in programmes for multi-purpose cattle. The regional breakdown shows that this approach is less widespread in conservation programmes in Africa and in the Near and Middle East than in other regions. While traditional products from locally adapted breeds are popular in many countries and often command premium prices, establishing a new niche market for products from a breed that is at risk of extinction is challenging. Opportunities are likely to be greater where a substantial number of consumers can afford to pay premium prices and where appropriate legal frameworks are in place (see Part 3 Section F).

Other conservation activities in the category “increasing demand for products and services for at-risk breeds” are far less widely reported than niche marketing. This may, in part, be accounted for by the fact that the number of breeds for which these activities are potentially relevant is lower. For example, use in landscape management is mainly relevant for grazing animals and only in certain locations. It may also be because the “demand” in question is, to varying degrees, for public goods, and therefore the activities are unlikely to become self-sustaining on the basis of market demand. Some livestock-related cultural and touristic activities can generate income for the keepers of at-risk breeds (trekking with ponies or other animals, charging for entrance to farm parks, etc.), but others accrue to the general public or to the local tourism industry more broadly. Conservation grazing is typically organized by public authorities or on a smaller scale by NGOs.

The second most commonly reported element in this category is the promotion of AnGR-related cultural activities. This is reported with roughly the same frequency across the big five species. However, it is reported far more frequently in Europe and the Caucasus than elsewhere. Promotion of breeds as tourist attractions is somewhat less frequently reported overall. Again there are no major differences in the frequency with which it is reported in the various big five species, and Europe and the Caucasus is again the region where the activity is most frequently reported. It is also relatively frequently reported in North America and to a lesser extent in Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia. However, it is mentioned in very few of the reports from Africa, the Southwest Pacific and the Near and Middle East.

Use of livestock in the management of wildlife habitats and landscapes is reported to be used as an element of in situ conservation programmes in only 24 percent of countries that have such programmes. Unsurprisingly, this activity is more commonly reported among types of livestock that are kept in grazing systems (i.e. cattle and small-ruminants among the big five, plus, in particular, horses). Potential synergy between AnGR conservation and wildlife conservation/landscape management arises because locally adapted breeds, including those that are at risk of extinction, are often well suited to grazing in harsh environments and may have other characteristics (including links to local culture) that make them suitable for use in conservation grazing. This activity is again much more commonly reported in Europe and the Caucasus than in other regions. The reports from several European countries, including Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, note that locally adapted breeds play important roles in the management of landscapes in national parks and other scenic areas.

The country reports indicate that conservation programmes for each of the big five species frequently include awareness-raising activities. These activities are quite widespread in all regions. However, they are particularly widespread in North America and Europe and the Caucasus and relatively rare in Africa and the Near and Middle East. Reported awareness-raising activities extend beyond those aimed at livestock keepers to include those aimed at consumers or the general public. There is therefore some overlap with the above-described “demand-creation” category, as consumers may become interested in buying products from at-risk breeds.

In Europe and the Caucasus, consumers and the general public are the main targets of the reported awareness-raising activities, whereas in Asia and Africa activities commonly focus on encouraging livestock keepers to avoid indiscriminate cross-breeding of locally adapted breeds. Among examples of awareness-raising directed at the general public, the country report from Japan mentions that some breeds have been designated as “national monuments”. Channels for awareness raising include museums and zoos (country report of Germany) and schools (country reports of Italy and the Czech Republic), as well as a range of print and electronic media. Social awareness is reported to be increasing in some countries, and in some cases has led to government intervention to support conservation. For example, Mongolia’s country report notes that in response to public concerns, the government has taken steps to help conserve the reindeer kept by the Dukha people, establishing a support programme that will include veterinary extension, financial support and technical advice on reindeer-antler craft.

Extension activities are a relatively common element of conservation programmes for all the big five species and in all regions (more so in Europe and the Caucasus and the Southwest Pacific than elsewhere). The above-described reindeer-focused programme in Mongolia is one example. In developed regions, some conservation-related extension activities involve the provision of advice to hobby farmers (see Box 3D3 for example), a group that may be interested in raising at-risk breeds but lack experience in animal husbandry and breeding.

Recognition and award schemes for livestock keepers are also reported with moderate frequency. Frequency of reporting is similar in each of the big five species, but more common in North America and Europe and the Caucasus than elsewhere.

The provision of economic incentives to livestock keepers raising at-risk breeds is widely used in Europe and the Caucasus as a core element of in situ conservation programmes, but is very rare in other regions. The Southwest Pacific is a partial exception because, in New Zealand, the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand, which is the main operator of conservation programmes in the country, gives small grants to livestock keepers raising at-risk breeds. This is the only reported case in which financial incentives are paid by a private institution rather than by the government of the respective country. Many European Union member countries use allocations from the European Union Rural Development Programme to support the conservation of AnGR by providing payments to those keeping at-risk locally adapted breeds. Reported examples from other regions include the provision of financial support to the keepers of some locally adapted breeds of cattle goats and chickens in Indonesia.

Both breeding programmes involving conservation breeding and those that aim to increase the productivity of at-risk breeds are widely reported as elements of in situ conservation programmes. Conservation breeding is the more widely reported. While it is more frequently reported in Europe and the Caucasus than elsewhere, it is also reported quite frequently in some developing regions. Governmental farms and nucleus herds play a key role in these activities in most regions. In the case of both types of programme, there are no major differences in frequency between species. In some cases, the information provided in the country reports from Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean suggests that conservation breeding programmes and breeding programmes focusing on improving performance are not clearly distinguished. Some of the programmes referred to as “conservation breeding programmes” aim to contribute to conservation by improving the production traits of the targeted breeds.

Community-based conservation is more commonly reported in Asia than in any other region (75 percent compared to an average of 48 percent). As noted above, this activity clearly overlaps with others. Box 3D2 provides an example of the successful involvement of a community in in situ conservation activities. Biocultural community protocols (see Box 4D3 in Part 4 Section D) are not widely reported (17 percent overall). Initiatives of this kind are a relatively new phenomenon and relevant only in certain circumstances.

4In situ conservation programmes – the roles of the public and private sectors

In most countries where in situ conservation programmes exist, public institutions are directly involved in the implementation of most of the reported activities (Figure 3D3). Involvement of the private sector is more unevenly distributed. In Africa and Asia, public institutions are the main operators of all the in situ conservation activities reported, except for the promotion of breed-related niche-market products. In Europe and the Caucasus and Latin America and the Caribbean, involvement of the public and private sectors is reported with roughly equal frequency. In Europe and the Caucasus, private institutions are most commonly involved in the development of niche marketing of breed-related products and in the promotion of breed-related cultural and touristic activities. The involvement of public institutions is prominent in the fields of extension and awareness-raising and in the implementation of conservation breeding programmes.

In the United States of America, Australia4 and New Zealand, public institutions play a minor role in the implementation of in situ conservation activities. The country report from the United States of America, for example, indicates that public-sector activity in the field of conservation is largely confined to the gene banking of cryo-conserved material, while in situ conservation is handled largely by breeders’ associations. Breeders’ associations are also heavily involved in in situ conservation in Europe and the Caucasus and to some extent in South America. They manage breeding programmes focusing on conservation and/or performance improvement, and collaborate in the development of niche marketing and touristic and cultural activities (see Part 3 Section C for a general discussion of stakeholder involvement in breeding programmes). In some European countries (e.g. the Netherlands and the United Kingdom), breeders’ associations are reported to be the primary stakeholders in in situ conservation, operating with some support from NGOs (see Box 3D3 for example) and government.

Globally, public institutions play a key role in breeding programmes focusing on conservation and/or performance improvement (Figure 3D3). In the majority of African, Asian and to a lesser extent South American countries, national governments are the main, and usually only, operators of breeding programmes associated with in situ conservation. In the majority of the countries in these regions, governments manage nucleus farms where locally adapted and/or exotic animals are kept. These nucleus farms distribute breeding stock (males) to improve the wider livestock population. Schemes of this kind can play an important role in the conservation and development of at-risk breeds, although their impact is often limited by a range of organizational weaknesses and resource-related constraints (see Part 3 Section C and Part 4 Section C).

The provision of funding is a key element of the public sector’s role in AnGR conservation. For example, governments may provide financial support for in situ conservation activities carried out by breeders’ associations, cooperatives, livestock keepers organized at community level or NGOs. They may also provide direct financial incentives to livestock keepers who keep at-risk breeds. Payments of this kind play an important role in Europe and the Caucasus and in some countries in Asia, but are almost absent in the rest of the world. Governments also play a key role in extension activities aimed at improving the management of at-risk breeds. This role is significant even in countries such as the United States of America, where the government generally has little involvement in in situ conservation.

5Ex situ in vitro conservation programmes

Almost half (45 percent) of reporting countries indicate that they have an operational in vitro gene bank for AnGR. A further 32 percent report that they have plans to develop one (Figure 3D4). In addition to being present in the United States of America, gene banks are widely reported in Europe and the Caucasus (71 percent of reporting countries), East Asia (100 percent), Southeast Asia (67 percent) and South America (63 percent). Note that a higher percentage of countries report the presence of ex situ in vitro conservation programmes (Table 3D1) than report gene banks (Figure 3D4 and Table 3D9). The discrepancy is accounted for mainly by the fact that some countries that do not have gene banks report the storage of cryopreserved genetic material for use in research or breeding programmes or for conservation purposes within the framework of small-scale projects.

Table 3D10 shows the percentage of national breed populations (big five species) reported to be cryoconserved in each region and sub-region. The figures show that despite the large number of countries that have established gene banks, only a small proportion of national breed populations are conserved: 27 percent in cattle; 23 percent in sheep; 20 percent in goats; 18 percent in pigs; and 6 percent in chickens. The United States of America is the only reporting country where the majority of national cattle, sheep, goat and pig breed populations are conserved in vitro. The proportion of breed populations with sufficient material stored to allow them to be reconstituted in case of need is substantially lower (in most species fewer than half the cryoconserved breeds have a sufficient quantity of material stored).

Countries had the option of providing information on ex situ in vitro conservation in species other than the big five. The responses are summarized in Table 3D11. Note that answering the question was not compulsory and therefore it is possible that some countries that have genetic material from these species stored in their gene banks did not provide information. The reported proportion of buffalo breed populations with material stored is similar to that for cattle (although the absolute number is clearly much lower). In horses and rabbits, widely distributed species with a large number of reported breeds, the figures are substantially lower, at 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively. A similar proportion (but lower absolute numbers) is reported for asses. Material from several other mammalian species (dromedaries, Bactrian camels, alpacas, llamas and yaks) is reported to be stored in gene banks. These species do not have worldwide distribution and the total number of reported breeds is low. In all cases, material from between 10 and 30 percent of breed populations is reported to be stored in gene banks. In absolute terms, this amounts to a handful of breed populations in each species. In all “minor” mammalian species, the number of breed populations for which sufficient material is stored to allow them to be reconstituted is either low or none. The figures for “minor” avian species are almost all very low. Muscovy ducks are something of an exception (material from 43 percent of 21 reported breed populations stored – and in all cases in sufficient quantity to allow the breeds to be reconstituted).

Countries that have national gene banks were requested to provide further information on the contents of the collection, the operation of the gene bank (stakeholder involvement) and the purposes for which the stored material is (or has been) used. Responses are summarized in Tables 3D9 and 3D12. Semen is by far the most commonly stored material, followed by embryos. However, isolated DNA, somatic cells and oocytes are stored in a substantial number of gene banks. There is some regional variation. For example, more than half the African countries reporting the presence of a gene bank indicate that they store no material other than semen. The use of gene banks to store material from breeds that are not currently regarded as being at risk of extinction is quite widespread (53 percent of responsee).5 This material has the potential to serve as an ultimate backup should some major unexpected disaster strike the in vivo population, but it can also be used in less extreme circumstances, for example to introduce the genetic variation needed to a re-orientate a breeding programme in response to changing market demands (see FAO, 2012).

While a gene bank is a strategic national resource, the most direct beneficiaries (or potential beneficiaries) are livestock breeders. The involvement of stakeholders from the breeding sector in the planning of the development and operation of the gene bank is therefore likely to be important in ensuring that it is well targeted and operates effectively (FAO, 2012). Only a minority of country reports indicating the presence of a gene bank state that livestock keepers or breeders’ associations are involved in its operation.

The number of cases in which genetic material from gene banks is reported to have been used to increase the genetic variability in in situ or ex situ populations is rather limited (26 and 18 percent of responses, respectively) and the country reports generally do not provide detailed information on these cases. Only a very few cases of gene bank material being used to reconstitute extinct or nearly extinct breeds are reported and few details are provided. An example of the reconstitution of a discontinued research line from cryoconserved material is presented in Box 3D5. Only a minority of countries globally (around 30 percent) report that they are involved in international or regional collaboration in gene banking. These cases are discussed in the regional overviews below.

6Regional overviews

6.1Africa

In Africa, the main elements of in situ conservation are extension activities and breeding programmes focusing on conservation and/or improvement of performance. State farms play a central role. However, there are some differences between the subregions. Most notably, in situ conservation programmes in Southern Africa are more diverse than those in other subregions in terms of the elements they include. The private sector, including breeders’ associations, is also more involved in conservation in this subregion than elsewhere in the region.

In vitro conservation is not widespread in Africa. The majority of countries report that they have no gene bank and the proportion of breeds covered is low (Table 3D9 and 3D10). However, several country reports mention plans to establish subregional gene banks in Africa. The report from Uganda, for example, mentions the objective of developing a gene bank in collaboration with Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania. The report from Togo mentions plans to collaborate with other countries of the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa to create a regional bank or strengthen the capacity of the gene bank of the International Centre of Research and Development of Livestock in the Subhumid Zone, based in Burkina Faso. The report from South Africa mentions the intention to collaborate with other Southern African Development Community countries (Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

6.2Asia

In situ conservation programmes in Asia are government driven and focus primarily on extension activities and breeding programmes aimed at improving breeds’ productivity. In East Asia, well-developed in situ conservation programmes are in place in some countries. Although there is some private-sector involvement, governments are the main operators. The most widespread in situ conservation activities in this subregion are awareness raising, conservation breeding programmes, promotion of niche market products and community-based conservation. In South and Southeast Asia, a lot of attention is paid to awareness-raising activities. For example, the country reports from Indonesia and the Philippines mention the use of the internet and social media in addition to traditional means of promoting locally adapted breeds. Some attention is also given to the establishment of breeding programmes for at-risk breeds. The country report from India, for example, mentions several such schemes for small-ruminant breeds.

More than half (60 percent) of country reports from Asia indicate the presence of a gene bank. However, there are substantial differences between the subregions (Table 3D9). In general, the gene banks in East and Southeast Asia are more developed than those in the other two subregions. In every major species, the gene banks of East and Southeast Asia store material from a higher proportion of reported breed populations than those in Central and South Asia (Table 3D10).

East Asia has a higher proportion of its chicken breeds stored in gene banks than any other sub-region or region in the world. This is mainly a result of the presence of well-developed gene banks in China and Japan. Although gene banks are relatively uncommon in the reporting countries of Central and South Asia, some countries from these subregions report well-developed gene banks. The gene bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for example, includes genetic material in the form of semen, embryos, oocytes and isolated DNA from cattle, sheep, goats, horses, buffaloes, Bactrian camels and dromedaries. Material from the gene bank has been used to introduce genetic variability into in situ and ex situ populations. The gene bank of India includes semen and isolated DNA from cattle, sheep, goats, buffaloes, horses and asses. Cattle genetic material from the gene bank has been used to increase the genetic variability and population sizes of cattle breeds such as the Tharparkar, Sahiwal, Krishna Valley and Hariana. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam all report the presence of a gene bank, while Indonesia reports plans to develop one. These gene banks are used mainly for introducing genetic variability into breeding programmes involving ex situ populations. With regard to international collaboration in gene banking within the region, the country report from the Philippines mentions plans for collaboration between India, Pakistan and the Philippines in the ex situ in vitro conservation of buffaloes.

6.3Europe and the Caucasus

In Europe and the Caucasus, in situ conservation programmes are well developed and generally involve a range of different elements (supplementary tables A3D1 to A3D7).6 The majority of locally adapted breeds are well characterized and their population trends are monitored. Breeders’ associations are widespread and conservation breeding programmes or those aiming to increasing the productivity of at-risk breeds are common. A lot of effort is put into awareness-raising activities and the methods used are diverse. The provision of direct financial incentives to the keepers of at-risk breeds is more common in this region than anywhere else in the world. The same is true for the use of at-risk breeds in the management of landscapes and wildlife habitats and their use in touristic activities. Niche marketing of breed products is well developed, facilitated by the existence of labelling schemes such as those operating in the European Union for protected designations of origin.

The majority of the countries in the region report well-established gene banks. However, the breed coverage of ex situ in vitro programmes remains far from complete: material from 40 percent of the reported cattle breed populations and less than 30 percent of reported sheep, goat and pig breed populations is stored in gene banks. Chickens are even less well represented, with material from only 5 percent of the reported breed populations included in gene banks (Table 3D10).

Two types of gene bank are reported in this region: centralized national gene banks (e.g. Poland and Spain) and dispersed gene banks managed by different stakeholders (breeders’ associations, research institutions, NGOs or commercial companies) (e.g. Italy and the United Kingdom). Germany is planning to do develop a national gene bank in the form of a network of gene banks operated by different partners. Switzerland’s establishment of a “virtual gene bank” in collaboration with the private sector is described in Box 3D7. Despite the generally well-developed state of ex situ in vitro conservation in this region, several countries have no gene banks and have no plans to establish them (Figure 3D4). A network of gene banks involving 23 countries is being developed (Box 3D8).

6.4Latin America and the Caribbean

In situ conservation programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean involve both government and private initiatives. The main elements of programmes in this region are breeding schemes focusing on conservation and/or performance improvement (in which governmental nucleus farms play a key role), promotion of niche-market products and awareness-raising activities. However, there is great diversity within the region in terms of the types of conservation activities undertaken (supplementary tables A3D1 to A3D7)^7^ and in the levels of breed coverage (Figure 3D1). Breeders’ associations exist in most countries, and where they exist are usually involved in conservation programmes. In some countries, in situ conservation programmes are in their first stages of development, while in others they are well established. Gene banks in the region usually consist of more than one separate collection managed by different stakeholders. Genetic material from both locally adapted and exotic breeds is usually stored, and collections are typically used both to support ongoing breeding programmes and for long-term conservation. Gene banks are common in South America, but scarce in Central America and the Caribbean. Ex situ in vivo conservation is relatively well-developed in the region.

6.5Southwest Pacific

In the small island countries of the Southwest Pacific, in situ conservation programmes, if they exist at all, are in their early stages of development and focus mainly on pigs and chickens (Tables 3D2 and 3D3). The main activities undertaken within these programmes are awareness raising, promotion of niche marketing and breed-related cultural activities. In the case of pigs, there are some community-based conservation programmes. In Australia8 and New Zealand, most in situ conservation activities are implemented by private institutions, with NGOs playing a key role. Despite the lack of government involvement, these programmes include a diverse range of elements. In New Zealand, the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand implements all in situ conservation activities. It gives small grants to livestock keepers who raise at-risk breeds, manages herd books, distributes newsletters and organizes fairs, shows and field days for awareness-raising and educational purposes.

Gene banks are present only in Australia and New Zealand. In both countries, the banks are operated by private bodies rather than by the public sector. In New Zealand, the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand, in collaboration with a private cryostorage facility, maintains a genetic repository at which genetic material from at-risk breeds is stored in the form of semen and embryos. The gene bank operates entirely on the basis of private funding. No information was provided in the country report about the number of breeds from which material is stored. A similar approach is taken in Australia, where breeding organizations and civil society organizations support ex situ conservation. In vitro programmes in Australia only include at-risk breeds with commercial potential. There are no gene banks in the small island countries of the region.

6.6North America

In the United States of America, in situ conservation is largely undertaken by breeders’ associations and other non-governmental bodies. The most widespread activities include awareness raising, promotion of niche-market products, recognition/award programmes for livestock keepers and breeding programmes to improve productivity. Government activity is largely confined to ex situ in vitro conservation. The country has a well-developed gene bank that includes genetic material from more than 150 breeds; 30 percent of the country’s breeds have enough material stored to allow them to be reconstituted if needed (Table 3D10). The primary role of the programme is to serve as a backup of in situ livestock populations that can be drawn upon if national or industry need arises. However, the collection is also used to provide samples for use in genetic research, to reconstitute research populations, to add genetic variability to industry populations and to evaluate germplasm in a range of different physiological experiments.

6.7Near and Middle East

In the Near and Middle East, in situ conservation programmes are generally in their early stages of development. Oman has a well-developed strategic plan for the conservation of dromedary, cattle, sheep, goat and chicken genetic resources. Initial efforts are focusing on the identification of at-risk breeds, raising awareness among livestock keepers and children about the state of the country’s AnGR and increasing the skills and knowledge of livestock keepers and government officers. In the context of this plan, several international agreements promoting the conservation and sustainable use of AnGR have been signed and four research centres or stations have been created in the country with the aim of conserving locally adapted breeds. Oman is also the only country in the region that reports a gene bank (semen and isolated DNA of two multi-purpose cattle breeds are stored and are used for both conservation and breeding purposes).

7Changes since 2007

Because of difference between the samples of reporting countries, it is difficult to present a direct comparison of the state of capacity in 2014 to that at the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared. However, in addition to the detailed questions about the current state of conservation measures, the country-report questionnaire included some questions about the state of implementation of Strategic Priority Area 3 (Conservation) of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b). Figure 3D5 summarizes the responses to a question about the state of conservation policies and programmes and whether they have been strengthened since 2007. The figure shows that a substantial number of countries report that they have improved the state of their conservation programmes since 2007. Improvements are more common in Asia and Europe and the Caucasus than in other regions. There are, however, a large number of countries (more than half) that report that they have no policies or programmes or that they have some provisions in place but have made no improvements since 2007. It appears that some countries interpreted this question more strictly than the question about the presence of the various categories of conservation activity (Table 3D1). A possible explanation for the discrepancy is that some countries have some conservation measures in place but that these do not form part of an organized policy or programme.

According to the country reports, the main obstacle to the improvement of conservation measures is a lack of financial resources. Other frequently mentioned obstacles include a lack of skilled personnel, a lack of technical capacity, a lack of adequate information on AnGR, a lack of national policies and legal frameworks, and insufficient coordination among stakeholders.

8Conclusions and priorities

Conservation programmes are more widespread than they were at the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared. Only a minority of countries now report that they have no conservation activities. In terms of practical impacts, the country reports provide several examples of breeds formerly classified as at risk of extinction whose population sizes have increased as a result of successful conservation programmes (see Box 3D3 for example). There are nonetheless major gaps in the breed coverage of conservation programmes, particularly in developing regions and many countries report that they have made little or no progress in improving their conservation measures in recent years.

A wide range of different in situ conservation activities are reported. However, many are much more widely used in Europe and the Caucasus, and in some cases North America, than elsewhere in the world. While not all activities are relevant in all countries, there appears to be considerable scope for diversifying existing in situ conservation programmes. A number of these potential activities are, however, relatively complex to organize and/or require substantial funding. Reported constraints to the improvement of conservation programmes indicate that many countries need to strengthen the basic human capacities and institutional structures needed for effective AnGR management (see Part 3 Section A for further discussion). In some countries, however, the prerequisites for successful conservation programmes are largely in place and the main challenge is to strengthen the political will to act.

The breed coverage of ex situ in vitro conservation programmes is still very limited overall, and many countries have no gene banks. Many report that they have plans to establish gene banks, but lack of funding and lack of technical skills often remain significant constraints. Collaboration at regional or subregional level is a potential means of avoiding duplication in the use of resources, provided the relevant institutional and legal arrangements can be put in place. Interest in initiatives of this kind is reported from several regions and subregions. Country-report responses related to the organization and operation of gene banks suggest that in many cases more could be done with regard to the practical utilization of gene bank material to increase genetic variability within ex situ or in situ livestock populations. The involvement of breeders’ associations and other livestock-sector stakeholders in the development and operation of gene banks is another area that may need strengthening.

References

Country reports. 2014. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e01.htm.

FAO. 2007a. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1250e/a1250e00.htm).

FAO. 2007b. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources and the Interlaken Declaration. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1404e/a1404e00.htm).

FAO. 2012. Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines No. 12. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i3017e/i3017e00.htm).

FAO. 2013. In vivo conservation of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines. No. 14. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3327e/i3327e00.htm).

1Cases where the species is absent or all breeds are considered secure are excluded from these calculations.

2Geographical indications or other indicators of origin are schemes that protect (via the regulation of labelling, etc.) the names of agricultural products and foods originating from a particular geographical area or that are produced in a particular way (e.g. using traditional methods and ingredients).

3Each response refers to the conservation programme for a given species within a given country (taking the big five species into account and treating the three categories of cattle breeds separately).

4Australia did not provide a country report as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process. However, it published a report as an independent initiative in 2012.

5Responses = country × species combinations.

6Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

7Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

8Australia did not provide a country report as part of the second SoW-AnGR reporting process. However, it published a report as an independent initiative in 2012.

Section E

Reproductive and molecular biotechnologies

1Introduction

This section presents a review and analysis of the use of reproductive and molecular biotechnologies, based on the information reported in the country reports (for more information on the coverage of the country reporting, see the introduction to Part 3). The biotechnologies on which countries were requested to provide information are listed in Box 3E1. The section is structured as follows: Subsection 2 presents a global overview of where and to what extent various molecular and reproductive biotechnologies are used in the livestock sector; Subsection 3 discusses stakeholder involvement in the delivery of biotechnology services in the livestock sector; Subsection 4 presents region by region descriptions of the state of use of reproductive and molecular biotechnologies; Subsection 5 discusses changes since the time the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007) was prepared; and Subsection 6 presents some conclusions and future priorities.

2Global overview

The country-report questionnaire requested countries to indicate the level of availability of a range of reproductive and molecular technologies by providing a score (by species): none; low (at experimental level only); medium (available to livestock keepers in some locations or production systems); or high (widely available to livestock keepers). Responding to the question was optional. Countries could provide information on any of the livestock species covered in the questionnaire.1 The responses are summarized in Tables 3E1 and 3E2.

Artificial insemination (AI) is the most widely used biotechnology, with 93 percent of reporting countries indicating that it is used at least to some extent. The only regions/subregions where this biotechnology is not reported to be used in all countries are the Southwest Pacific and North and West Africa. Embryo transfer is less widely reported, but is nonetheless used to some extent in a majority of countries. Countries that do not report the use of embryo transfer are more common in Africa, the Near and Middle East and the Southwest Pacific than in other regions. The use of semen sexing and in vitro fertilization is less commonly reported. Apart from North America, where all the technologies under consideration are used at least at experimental level, these two technologies are reported with medium frequency in Asia, Europe and the Caucasus, and Latin America and the Caribbean, and rarely in other regions. Few countries report the use of cloning, genetic modification or the transplantation of gonadal tissue. The use of molecular genetic or genomic information is reported with medium frequency overall, least frequently in Africa, the Southwest Pacific and Central Asia.

The figures shown in Tables 3E1 and 3E2 conceal big differences in the level of availability of the various technologies and in the extent of their use in different species and different production systems. Table 3E3 presents a species breakdown of the reported scores (see above) for the availability of different technologies. Figure 3E1 shows the frequency distribution of the availability scores by region. Production system differences are further discussed below (see Table 3E4).

As well as being the most widely reported biotechnology, AI also has the highest availability to livestock keepers in the countries where it is used. More than 40 percent of all reporting countries indicate that AI is widely available to livestock keepers raising dairy cattle (Figure 3E1). However, the figure is much lower for beef and multi-purpose cattle and for pigs (less than 25 percent) and very low for other species.2 Across all the other reproductive technologies considered, high and medium levels of availability are more commonly reported in cattle than in other species and more commonly in dairy cattle than in beef and multi-purpose cattle. Where the use of molecular genetic or genomic information is concerned, high and medium scores are again most frequent in dairy cattle. However, they are relatively frequent also in sheep and pigs (roughly at the same level as beef and multipurpose cattle). For all technologies apart from AI, high and medium scores are a small minority of responses, indicating that in most countries they are used, if at all, only on an experimental basis.

In order to obtain an indication of differences between production systems in the level of use of AI – and in the sources of the semen used – countries were asked to indicate (by providing a score) the relative contributions of natural mating, AI using semen from locally adapted breeds, AI using nationally produced semen from exotic breeds and AI using imported semen to the total number of matings/inseminations within the various production systems present in the country. The production-system categories used in the questionnaire are shown in Box 3E2. The responses are summarized in Table 3E4.

The only species × production system combinations for which natural mating received an average score of less than 2 (approximately 33 to 66 percent of matings) were industrial systems (all species), dairy cattle (all systems except pastoralist), multipurpose cattle in small-scale peri-urban or urban systems and pigs in “ranching” systems (these are presumably pigs raised in outdoor systems that are not part of mixed farms). The averages conceal the extent of variation between regions and between countries within regions. Moreover, given the broad range of coverage represented by each category, the scores do not provide very precise estimates of the level of AI use. However, it appears that apart from the dairy sector and “industrial” systems, the use of natural mating is generally predominant.

There is some variation in the main sources of the semen used in different production systems and species. In the case of cattle, imported exotic semen has the highest average score in most production systems. In contrast, in the case of small ruminants, imported semen scores at a similar level to, or slightly lower than, the other sources. However, scores for AI with all types of semen are low in these species. In the case of pigs, the highest-scoring category in industrial systems, which are the main users of AI, is locally produced semen from exotic breeds.

Countries had the option of providing information on the use of biotechnologies in species other than the big five. While the data may not be complete, they suggest that the use of bio-technologies in these species is not widespread (Table 3E5). Horses are to some extent an exception (particularly in Europe and the Caucasus and South America). Of the 62 countries that report the presence of horses, 63 percent indicate that AI is used in this species. In the case of embryo transfer, 34 percent of these countries report that the technology is used in horses and 21 percent indicate the use of MOET. The use of molecular or genomic information in horses is reported by 29 percent of countries that report the presence of the species. The use of AI in buffaloes is also quite widely reported: of the 31 countries reporting the presence of the species, 58 percent indicate that AI is used.

The use of other biotechnologies in “minor” species is apparently limited and largely restricted to the experimental level. In the case of some species with limited geographical distributions, the use of molecular and reproductive technologies for research purposes is reported by some countries where the respective species are economically important. For example, research on AI in South American camelids is reported in the country reports from the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Peru. India and the Islamic Republic of Iran report research on AI, embryo transfer, MOET and in vitro fertilization in camels. The latter country also reports limited use of AI, embryo transfer and MOET for production purposes in Bactrian camels.

3Stakeholders involved in service provision and research

The country-report questionnaire requested countries to indicate which stakeholders (from a list of options)^3^ are involved in providing AI and embryo-transfer services to livestock keepers. The responses are summarized in Table 3E6. Globally, the public sector, breeders’ associations or cooperatives and national commercial companies are the main players in the delivery of these services. However, there are major differences between regions. The public sector has no involvement in North America and also in many countries in Europe and the Caucasus and the Southwest Pacific, but is widely involved in service delivery in other regions. Breeders’ associations frequently have a role in Europe and the Caucasus, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, are less frequently involved in Africa and the Southwest Pacific and have no role in other regions. National commercial companies are widely involved in developed regions, somewhat less so in Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia, and quite rarely in other regions. In most regions, services are more frequently provided by national commercial companies (i.e. those based within the respective country) than by external companies. The involvement of NGOs is quite widespread in Asia, Africa and the Southwest Pacific, but less so elsewhere. Donors and development agencies have some involvement in the provision of services in all developing regions.

Countries were also asked to provide information on whether they are undertaking research on the biotechnologies discussed in this section. The responses are summarized in Tables 3E7 and 3E8. Where reproductive biotechnologies are concerned, research is most frequently reported in the more widely used technologies – AI followed by embryo transfer. Research on semen sexing and in vitro fertilization is less common and research on cloning and genetic modification even less so. The most common use of molecular genetic or genomic information in research is in the study of genetic diversity. Research on the use of molecular genetic or genomic information for prediction of breeding values and research on adaptedness traits are also reported quite frequently. There are major differences between the regions. Research in all the fields of biotechnology under consideration is being conducted in North America. In most cases, research is also reported from a large proportion of countries in Europe and the Caucasus, East Asia and South America. Research activities are discussed in more detail in the regional overviews below.

4Regional overviews

4.1Africa

AI is the main, and in most cases the only, reproductive or molecular technology used in livestock production in African countries (Tables 3E1 and 3E2). AI use is reported by all the countries of East and Southern Africa, and by 74 percent of the countries of North and West Africa. However, the level of availability of AI is very variable across subregions, species and production systems. Only four of the region’s countries – Cameroon, Mauritius, South Africa (see Box 3E3) and Rwanda – report that AI is widely available to livestock keepers (and these responses refer only to its use in cattle). Many countries report that a lack of infrastructure and logistical and human capacity means that they are only in the early stages of establishing AI services. The country report from Benin, for example, notes that AI services were interrupted in 2010 because of a lack of liquid nitrogen.

The availability of AI is much higher in industrial and small-scale peri-urban and urban systems than in other systems. Many country reports, including those from Benin, the Gambia and South Africa (see Box 3E3), mention the preponderance of grassland systems as a constraint to the more widespread use of reproductive bio-technologies.

AI services in Africa are provided mainly by the public sector (Tables 3E6). The semen used may be imported or locally produced. In many countries, public institutions also provide AI technology and training to veterinarians and field technicians, who then deliver services. Governmental AI services are frequently provided in collaboration with livestock keepers’ associations and NGOs. The provision of AI services to livestock keepers is usually subsidized. For example, the country reports from Botswana (see Box 3E4), Ethiopia and Lesotho mention that semen doses are provided to livestock keepers at subsidized prices.

The provision of AI services by private companies is much less widespread in Africa than provision by the public sector in terms of the number of countries where the respective sectors are involved. The role of external commercial companies is particularly limited (Table 3E6). However, in the East and North and West Africa subregions, national commercial companies provide AI services in a substantial percentage of countries. For example, AI services in Kenya are provided mainly by private providers (including cooperatives), with the public sector providing services only where there are no private-sector providers. The country report from Senegal mentions that the government provides AI material to private veterinarians who act as service providers, often grouped into associations or consortia so as to be more competitive and to better organize the zoning of the programme. These organizations are also reported to work with foreign companies to obtain inputs. In other countries, the government is in the process of trying to involve private companies in the provision of AI services (noted, for example, in the country report from Mauritania).

Other biotechnologies such as embryo transfer and MOET are reported to be used in some countries, but this is usually only for experimental purposes (Figure 3E1). The country report from Rwanda, for example, mentions that research on embryo transfer is being implemented by the Rwanda Agriculture Board in collaboration with Japanese researchers. Another example is provided in the report from the United Republic of Tanzania, which mentions that research on embryo transfer is being undertaken at the country’s Agriculture University and that preparations are under way to construct a MOET laboratory at the Mpwapwa Livestock Research Institute. A few countries in the region report the use of embryo transfer at farm or holding level, but only on a very limited scale.

Research in the field of biotechnology in Africa focuses mainly on improving AI techniques and extending the use of this technology to species other than cattle, embryo transfer techniques and the estimation of genetic diversity in various livestock populations (Tables 3E7 and 3E8). International collaboration in research is widely reported, including both collaboration between African countries and collaboration with countries from outside the region (European and Asian countries). Examples include collaboration in research on embryo transfer involving Rwanda and Japan and between Mozambique and South Africa (mentioned, respectively, in the country reports from Rwanda and Mozambique).

4.2Asia

AI is the most widely used reproductive biotechnology in livestock production in Asia. Every country report from the region states that this technology is used (Table 3E1). Embryo transfer and MOET technologies are also used in a very large percentage of the Asian countries. However, in most cases they are reported to be used only at research level. Japan and the Republic of Korea are exceptions in this respect and report that embryo transfer is commonly used in livestock production. The use of molecular genetic or genomic information is also widely reported in the region, although less frequently in Central Asia. According to the country reports, molecular information is used mainly in research projects on genetic characterization and diversity and to a limited extent to detect regions in the genome involved in the regulation of animal performance. India reports extensive research on growth traits in native and broiler chickens and trait-based gene profiles for egg-quality traits. A few country reports explicitly mention the use of molecular techniques in breeding programmes. The country report from Japan, for example, mentions the use of genomic information in cattle breeding programmes. The report from Indonesia mentions the use of marker-assisted selection in dairy and beef cattle and the report from Malaysia mentions its use in goats and cattle. The use of cloning technology for research purposes is mentioned in the country reports from India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand. The report from India notes that research institutions have successfully cloned buffaloes and sheep. The report from the Republic of Korea mentions that cloning has been used to restore native animal genetic resources (AnGR) threatened with extinction.

In every reporting country in Asia, government and public institutions are heavily involved in the provision of reproductive biotechnology services, either directly to livestock keepers or via breeders’ associations or private veterinarians that provide the services to livestock keepers (Table 3E6). International donors, development agencies and NGOs also provide biotechnology services, mainly related to AI (see Box 3E5 for example). They also have a role in supporting research and in technical education, particularly in the less-developed countries of the region. For example, the country report from Bangladesh notes that NGOs play a key role in expanding the use of AI. The report from the Philippines mentions that Japan helped in the development of AI in the country and that the Republic of Korea provided support for the development of the cryopreservation facility of the Philippine Carabao Center. Private national and international companies also play a role in the provision of biotechnology services in some countries in the region, mainly in the dairy, pig and poultry sectors.

Country reports from East and Southeast Asia indicate research into almost all types of reproductive and molecular technology (Tables 3E7 and 3E8). In Central and South Asia, research is reported to be less wide ranging, but a majority of countries report research on AI, embryo transfer and MOET and on the estimation of genetic diversity. Many research projects in the region involve international collaboration, usually involving, on the one hand, Asian countries with relatively well-developed research programmes and, on the other, those where research capacity is more limited. Some collaboration with countries outside the region is also reported. The country report from Mongolia mentions collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Science in a research project on the improvement of embryo transfer and MOET in cattle, sheep and goats, and with the Russian Academy of Agriculture Science and the Chinese Academy of Science in a molecular study of the genetic diversity of Mongolian cattle and yaks.

4.3Southwest Pacific

The countries of the Southwest Pacific region fall into two distinct groups with respect to the level of use of reproductive and molecular technologies and the amount of research conducted in these fields: New Zealand and Australia4 on the one hand and the small Pacific island countries on the other.

The country report from New Zealand indicates that for most livestock species, molecular and reproductive technologies are widely available for use in production. It gives a score of 3 (widely available to livestock keepers) for the level of availability of AI, embryo transfer, MOET and use of molecular genetic or genomic information in the dairy and beef cattle and small-ruminant sectors. The same high level of availability is reported for AI and the use of molecular genetic or genomic information in the pig sector. National and international companies, as well as breeders’ associations, are heavily involved in providing AI and embryo transfer services to livestock keepers (Table 3E6). The country also has a well-developed agricultural research sector, with extensive international links, that undertakes research into many of the technologies discussed in this section.

Half the country reports from the region’s small island countries indicate that AI is used. This is mainly in the beef and, to a lesser extent, dairy sectors (see supplementary tables).5 The report from the Cook Islands notes that AI is not being used because it is cheaper to import live animals than semen. In the countries where they are available, AI services are provided by external commercial companies or international donor and development agencies, with governments playing a facilitating role. Some countries report the need to further foster the use of AI. For example, the country report from Samoa notes that the government is interested in increasing the use of AI and embryo transfer technologies in breeding programmes. However, it also notes that there is a great need to increase capacity and raise awareness in this field. No other molecular or reproductive technologies are reported to be used in the small island countries of the region and no research on such technologies is reported.

4.4Europe and the Caucasus

In Europe and the Caucasus, commercial companies and breeders’ associations are the major actors in the provision of AI and embryo transfer services (Table 3E6). The role of the public sector varies across the regions. Most often, it is involved in research and in regulation (e.g. evaluating semen quality and licensing companies for semen importation). In some cases it operates AI centres and services. The country report from France, states that the public sector was the main actor in the provision of reproductive technology services until 2010, after which the activity has been progressively taken over by veterinarians and the cooperative sector. External commercial companies are also significant service providers.

Most of the countries of the region report the widespread use of reproductive and molecular technologies (Tables 3E1 and 3E2). Research in the fields of genomics and the main reproductive biotechnologies is widespread. Research on cloning and genetic modification is less common (Tables 3E7 and 3E8). Research activities often involve international collaboration.

4.5Latin America and the Caribbean

AI, embryo transfer, MOET, semen sexing, in vitro fertilization and molecular genetic and genomic information are reported to be used in a majority of countries in South and Central America (Tables 3E1 and 3E2). Brazil (see Box 3E6) and Mexico are the leading countries in their respective subregions, both in terms of the level of use of bio-technologies and in research. In Brazil, all the aforementioned technologies are used in cattle production. In the case of sheep, goats and pigs, AI, embryo transfer, molecular genetic and genomic information and MOET are used in production, but sexed semen and in vitro fertilization only in research. In most of the rest of the countries of South America, AI and embryo transfer, molecular genetic and genomic information and MOET are widely used in cattle and sheep production. In goats and pigs, AI is also widely used in production, but the use of embryo transfer, molecular genetic and genomic information and MOET is much less widespread (see supplementary tables).6

Research on biotechnologies is well developed in South America, mainly focusing on cattle and sheep; international collaboration in research is widespread (Table 3E7 and 3E8). The country reports from Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia mention research on optimizing the use of AI in llamas and alpacas. The reports from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay mention research programmes on cloning and genetic modification.

In Central America, AI, embryo transfer and MOET are used in livestock production, although to a lesser extent than in South America (see supplementary tables).6 These technologies are used more widely in cattle (mainly dairy cattle) than in other species. The country report from Mexico, for example, notes that these technologies are widely used in dairy cattle and that there is a federal government support programme that aims to spread the use of AI and embryo transfer in the livestock sector and to begin work on other technologies such as genomic selection. The country report from the Dominican Republic notes that the main providers of biotechnologies in the country are Brazilian and Mexican operators. Semen sexing and in vitro fertilization, and the use of molecular or genomic information in genetic evaluation, are reported to be undertaken for research purposes in dairy cattle in a few countries (e.g. Mexico and Costa Rica). Outside the dairy sector, the country report from Mexico mentions that genetic association studies are being implemented in beef cattle and sheep.

In the Caribbean subregion, biotechnologies are reported to be much less widely available than in the rest of the region (Tables 3E1 and 3E2). AI is used to a limited extent in cattle and sheep. Research on embryo transfer and MOET is being undertaken in a few countries (Table 3E7). The country report from Jamaica mentions that research was done on the feasibility of artificially inseminating locally adapted goats using semen from Boer goats, but that a relatively low pregnancy rate was achieved.

The reported involvement of stakeholder groups in the provision of biotechnology services in Latin America and the Caribbean is similar to that described above for Asia. Governmental institutions are relatively heavily involved in the provision of services in countries where livestock production is less well developed and for species kept mainly in less intensive systems. The reverse is true for commercial companies (Table 3E6). In Chile, for example, where AI is widely practised in cattle production, the use of this technology is fostered by the Institute of Livestock Development, but the main providers are commercial companies that import semen from exotic breeds. In Central and South America, breeders’ associations play an important role in the provision of AI and to a lesser extent embryo transfer.

4.6North America

In the United States of America, many biotechnologies are widely used in production (see Box 3E7). Services are provided primarily by the private sector. Extensive research into the use of biotechnologies is also conducted (Table 3E7 and 3E8). Newly developed technologies are quickly transferred to the private sector, where they are used not only by large companies, but also by independent breeders. National and external commercial companies are the main providers of AI and embryo transfer services to livestock keepers (Table 3E6).

4.7Near and Middle East

In the Near and Middle East, AI is the only reproductive biotechnology reported to be available to livestock keepers (Table 3E1). It is used mainly in the dairy-cattle sector (supplementary table A3E1).7 AI is usually provided by public institutions, which distribute imported semen. However, a few countries report the involvement of private institutions. The country report from Egypt notes that private veterinarians provide AI services in cattle, buffalo and rabbits. The report from Sudan mentions that AI services were privatized in 2006 and that since then they have been provided by commercial companies.

Research in this field in the Near and Middle East is mainly related to AI and the estimation of genetic diversity, although the country report from Egypt also mentions that research on MOET, mainly for use in buffaloes, and on in vitro fertilization is being conducted by several institutions and universities. Some international collaboration in research is reported (Table 3E7 and 3E8). For example, the country report of Iraq mentions the involvement of the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation of the United States of America in a study on the genetic diversity and structure of locally adapted breeds of cattle and sheep.

5Changes since 2005

Table 3E9 presents a comparison of the level of availability (reported use at least at experimental level) of AI and embryo transfer reported in the country reports prepared (between 2002 and 2005) for the first SoW-AnGR to the level reported in 2014. The figures refer to the countries that provided the relevant information in both reporting processes. Use of both AI and embryo transfer has become more widespread in terms of the number of countries where they are used. However, as discussed above, in many countries, their use is restricted to particularly production systems or locations. In the case of embryo transfer, availability for use in production is often very limited.

Very few of the country reports prepared for the first SoW-AnGR indicated the use of molecular genetic or genomic information in breeding programmes. The use these technologies has become considerably more widespread in recent years, but in many cases remains at experimental level.

6Conclusions and priorities

The information provided in the country reports indicates major gaps in the availability of reproductive and molecular biotechnologies for use in the livestock sector. There has been some increase in their availability over recent years and, where availability of reproductive technologies is concerned, the gap between developed and developing countries appears to have narrowed to some extent. Nonetheless, with the exception of AI, many countries report no use of any reproductive biotechnologies and the proportion of countries where their use extends beyond the experimental level is generally very low, particularly for species other than cattle. In some cases, the use of biotechnologies is restricted because technical issues related to the efficiency of their use in certain species (or more generally) remain to be resolved (see Part 4 Sections B, C and D). The use of some is restricted by social or ethical concerns. In other cases, however, the use of potentially beneficial technologies is restricted by a lack of funding, lack of infrastructure, lack of trained personnel or a lack of organizational capacity.

A range of different stakeholders are involved in the provision of biotechnology services to livestock keepers. The private sector has at least some role in all regions and its role has increased over recent years in some developing countries. Nonetheless, the public sector continues to play the main role in the delivery of services in developing regions, particularly in more marginal locations and production systems.

Reproductive and molecular biotechnologies are powerful tools for the management of AnGR, particularly for characterization, monitoring, breeding and conservation. Improvements to infrastructure can help to make these technologies more widely available to livestock keepers. However, as some of these technologies allow very rapid changes in the genetic make-up of livestock populations, it is important to plan their use carefully and with adequate involvement of all relevant stakeholders. If their use is to become more widespread, it is important that this takes place in the context of a comprehensive understanding of AnGR management that considers the pros and cons of applying such powerful tools and the need both to increase livestock production and productivity and to maintain genetic diversity.

References

Country reports. 2014. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e01.htm.

FAO. 2007. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, edited by B. Rischkowsky & D. Pilling. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1250e/a1250e00.htm).

FAO. 2012. Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines No. 12. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i3017e/i3017e00.htm).

1The questionnaire (see http://www.fao.org/Ag/AGAInfo/programmes/en/genetics/Second_state.html) allowed for answers on the following species: alpaca, ass, Bactrian camel, buffalo, cattle, chicken, dromedary, duck, goat, goose, guinea pig, guinea fowl, horse, llama, Muscovy duck, ostrich, pig, pigeon, quail, rabbit, sheep, turkey and yak (domestic).

2It is possible that these figures are underestimates given that some countries did not provide responses to the respective question. However, it seems likely that most countries with high levels of provision to report would have done so.

3Public sector, breeders’ associations or cooperatives, national non-governmental organizations, donors and development agencies, national commercial companies and external commercial companies.

4Australia did not provide a country report as part of the second SoW-AnGR process, but it produced a country report in 2012 at its own initiative.

5Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

6Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

7Supplementary tables for Part 3 are provided on CD ROM and at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e/i4787e197.pdf

Section F

Legal and policy frameworks

1Introduction

This section is divided into three major subsections, respectively addressing international, regional and national (including where relevant subnational) legal and policy frameworks. As was the case in the first report on The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (first SoW-AnGR) (FAO, 2007a), the first two subsections are based mainly on a review of relevant literature, while the subsection on national frameworks is based on country reporting – in this case comprising both the main country reports (see introduction to Part 3) and responses to a separate survey on legal and policy frameworks conducted by FAO in 2013.1

2International frameworks

The first SoW-AnGR described a number of international legally binding and non-binding instruments relevant to the management of AnGR.2 This subsection presents an overview of developments since the time the first report was prepared.

2.1Management of biodiversity

Developments related to the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)^3^ remains the main legally binding international framework for the management of biodiversity. From the perspective of AnGR management, significant developments in recent years have included an in-depth review of the CBD’s Programme of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity, as a result of which, in 2008, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD invited

“Parties, other Governments, relevant international and regional organizations, local and indigenous communities, farmers, pastoralists and plant and animal breeders to promote, support and remove constraints to on-farm and in situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity through participatory decision-making processes in order to enhance the conservation of plant and animal genetic resources, related components of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems, and related ecosystem functions” (Decision IX/1).

Under the same decision, the COP welcomed the launch of the first SoW-AnGR and the adoption of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b; see below for more details). It invited stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of the Global Plan of Action.

In 2010, the COP adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2010, along with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (Decision X/2). Of particular significance to AnGR management is Target 13:

“By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.”

The COP invited FAO and its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA)

“to contribute to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 by refining targets for agricultural biodiversity, including at the ecosystem and genetic resources levels, and monitoring progress towards them using indicators” (Decision X/34).

At the same meeting, the COP adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 2011) (see Subsection 2.2 for further discussion).

In 2011, the second phase of the Joint Work Plan of the Secretariats of the CBD, FAO and the CGRFA, covering the period 2011 to 2020, was agreed upon. The key areas of work under this plan are assessments of biodiversity of relevance to food and agriculture, targets and indicators, best practices in the management of biodiversity, micro-organisms and invertebrates, access and benefit-sharing, enhancing implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity at national level, and climate change and genetic resources for food and agriculture (FAO, 2011a).

Developments related to the work of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The CGRFA is the only permanent intergovernmental forum specifically addressing matters related to biodiversity for food and agriculture.4 As far as AnGR management is concerned, the most significant development under the auspices of the CGRFA in recent years has been the adoption of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. The process of preparing the first Sow-AnGR led to the development of draft strategic priorities for action for AnGR management (FAO, 2007c). This provided the basis for the negotiation of the Global Plan of Action by the CGRFA and its adoption by the International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, held in Interlaken, Switzerland, in September 2007, along with the Interlaken Declaration on Animal Genetic Resources. Later in 2007, the Conference of FAO adopted a resolution endorsing the Global Plan of Action (FAO, 2007d).

The Global Plan of Action contains 23 strategic priorities for action, grouped into four strategic priority areas:

  1. Characterization, Inventory and Monitoring of Trends and Associated Risks;
  2. Sustainable Use and Development;
  3. Conservation; and
  4. Policies, Institutions and Capacity-building.

The strategic priorities, along with their main levels of implementation (national, regional or international) are shown in Table 3F1.

In 2009, the CGRFA agreed a timetable for monitoring the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, based on the preparation of periodical country progress reports (FAO, 2009a). The first round of reporting took place in 2012 (FAO, 2012). A further round of reporting followed as part of the reporting process for the preparation of the second SoW-AnGR. The outcomes are described in the various sections of Part 3, and in more detail in the Synthesis progress report on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources – 2014 (FAO, 2014a).

In 2013, the CGRFA agreed upon a set of targets and indicators to be used to monitor the implementation of the Global Plan of Action and another set to be used to monitor the status and trends of AnGR (FAO, 2013a; 2013b). The former set of indicators are referred to as “process indicators” and the latter as “resource indicators”. The resource indicators are discussed in greater detail in Part 1 Section B.

The process-indicator framework includes indicators at the level of each strategic priority of the Global Plan of Action, as well as indicators at the level of the four strategic priority areas, with additional indicators for the overall state of collaboration and funding. The indicators can all be calculated at national, regional and global levels. This was done for both the 2012 and the 2014 rounds of reporting (FAO, 2012; 2014a). Indicators for 2014 at strategic priority area level are summarized by region in Table 3F2 (country-level indicators for Strategic Priority Area 4 are shown in Figure 3A8 in Part 3 Section A). The figures show that implementation of the strategic priority areas is, on average, at a high level in North America and in Europe and the Caucasus, and at a medium or low level elsewhere. Implementation of Strategic Priority Area 4 (Conservation) is somewhat less advanced than that of the other strategic priority areas. The indicators for collaboration and funding are at a lower level than those for the strategic priority areas themselves.

Also in 2013, the CGRFA welcomed the idea of establishing a ten-year cycle for the preparation of state of the world reports for the various subsectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture. Following this cycle would mean that the next (third) SoW-AnGR would be published in 2025.

The Funding Strategy for the Implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources was adopted by the CGRFA in 2009 (FAO, 2009a; 2009b). An FAO trust account was established for the receipt of voluntary contributions in support of the implementation of the Global Plan of Action. All trust account funds are dispersed to countries to support implementation activities at national or regional level. By 2011, US$1 million had been contributed to the trust account and the first call for proposals under the Funding Strategy was launched. In 2012, 13 projects, involving 30 countries, were chosen to receive funding.5

In addition to developments directly related to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action, the CGRFA has addressed a number of topics that are of relevance to AnGR management. For example, in 2013, the CGRFA adopted its Programme of Work on Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2013a). Also in 2013, it requested FAO to prepare The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, which – it stressed – should focus on interactions between the various sectors of genetic resources (animal, plant, forest, aquatic, micro-organism and invertebrate) and on cross-sectoral matters (ibid.).

Milestones and outputs for the CGRFA’s work across all sectors of genetic resources and in cross-sectoral matters (access and benefit-sharing, climate change, biotechnology, biodiversity indicators and biodiversity and nutrition) are set out in its Multi-Year Programme of Work, which was adopted in 2007 and has been periodically revised (FAO, 2013a). In 2009, the CGRFA adopted a Strategic Plan in which it identified the processes and the partners that would be needed in order to achieve the milestones set out in the Multi-Year Programme of Work. A revised Strategic Plan, covering the period 2014 to 2023, was adopted in 2013 (ibid.).

2.2Access and benefit-sharing

At the time the first Sow-AnGR was prepared, the main international instruments addressing access and benefit-sharing (ABS) issues were the CBD, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (International Treaty) (FAO, 2009c) and, among “soft laws”, the Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilization (CBD, 2002).6 While AnGR fall within the scope of the CBD, the specific characteristics and requirements of the AnGR sub-sector had received little attention in the development of international instruments related to ABS. There was a degree of concern about the potential effects that ABS frameworks might, directly or indirectly, have on the use of AnGR and other genetic resources for food and agriculture. In 2004, the CGRFA had recommended

“that FAO and the Commission contribute to further work on access and benefit-sharing, in order to ensure that it move in a direction supportive of the special needs of the agricultural sector, in regard to all components of biological diversity of interest to food and agriculture” (FAO, 2004).

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force on 12 October 2014. During the course of the negotiations on the Nagoya Protocol, the FAO Conference, at the recommendation of the CGRFA, invited the negotiators

“to explore and assess options … that allow for adequate flexibility to acknowledge and accommodate existing and future agreements relating to access and benefit-sharing” (FAO, 2009d).

In 2011, the Commission decided to establish the Ad Hoc Technical Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and mandated it to

“identify relevant distinctive features of the different sectors and sub-sectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture requiring distinctive solutions; taking into account the relevant distinctive features identified, develop options to guide and assist countries, upon their request, in developing legislative, administrative and policy measures that accommodate these features; and analyze, as appropriate, possible modalities for addressing access and benefit-sharing for genetic resources for food and agriculture, taking into account the full range of options, including those presented in the Nagoya Protocol” (FAO, 2011b).

The Ad Hoc Working Group met in July 2012 in Longyearbyen (Svalbard), Norway (FAO, 2012).

Following the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, the CGRFA launched a process aimed at the development of “Elements to Facilitate Domestic Implementation of Access and Benefit-Sharing for Different Subsectors of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture”, intended as a voluntary tool to assist national governments with their work in this field (FAO, 2013a). The outcomes of the process were welcomed by the CGRFA at its Fifteenth Regular Session in 2015 (FAO, 2015).

The Nagoya Protocol – scope and objectives

The Nagoya Protocol was adopted on 29 October 2010 by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD at its tenth meeting, held in Nagoya, Japan. The objective of the Nagoya Protocol is to further advance the third of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources.

In general, the assumption when selling genetic material in the form of breeding animals, semen, embryos, etc., is that its value as a genetic resource is already reflected in its price, and that the buyer will be free to use it for further research and breeding (FAO, 2009d). However, following the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, things could change. The point of departure of the Nagoya Protocol is the sovereign right of states over their natural resources (Article 3 of the CBD), which implies that the authority to determine access to genetic resources rests with national governments and is subject to national legislation. The sovereign right of states to determine access to genetic resources should not be confused with other categories of entitlement, such as the private ownership of an animal or genetic material. ABS measures may require that, even though an animal may be the private property of a livestock keeper or the common property of a community, certain conditions (e.g. related to the need for “prior informed consent”) have to be met before it can be provided to a third party for research and development. Governments can, however, defer to providers and users to work out arrangements for the exchange of privately held genetic resources, and can choose not to require prior informed consent.

The Nagoya Protocol, in its preamble, explicitly recognizes the importance of genetic resources to food security, as well as

“the special nature of agricultural biodiversity, its distinctive features and problems needing distinctive solutions”

and

“the interdependence of all countries with regard to genetic resources for food and agriculture as well as their special nature and importance for achieving food security worldwide and for sustainable development of agriculture in the context of poverty alleviation and climate change …”

In this regard, the Nagoya Protocol also acknowledges the fundamental role of the CGRFA and of the International Treaty.7 In its operational provisions, the Nagoya Protocol requires its Parties to consider, in the development and implementation of their access and benefit-sharing legislation or regulatory requirements, the importance of genetic resources for food and agriculture and their special role for food security.8 However, the Nagoya Protocol does not specify how, in practice, ABS measures might take these matters into account.

It is important to note that the Nagoya Protocol does not prevent its Parties from developing and implementing other relevant international agreements, including other specialized ABS agreements, provided that they are supportive of and do not run counter to the objectives of the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol.9 The Nagoya Protocol does not apply with respect to genetic resources covered by and for the purpose of such specialized instruments.10 The Nagoya Protocol does not require its Parties to apply their ABS legislation or policies to any, or all, of their genetic resources.

Main provisions of the Nagoya Protocol and their relevance to animal genetic resources management

The Nagoya Protocol covers genetic resources, including AnGR, that are provided by Parties that are the countries of origin of the respective resources or by Parties that have acquired the resources in accordance with the CBD. The Nagoya Protocol sets out core obligations for its Parties to take measures in relation to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing and compliance. It also addresses:

  • access to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources;
  • the sharing of benefits derived from the utilization of genetic resources and of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources; and
  • the compliance of utilization of genetic resources and traditional knowledge with applicable requirements to obtain prior informed consent, where applicable, and to establish mutually agreed terms.

The Nagoya Protocol does not define “access to genetic resources”. Instead it relies on the CBD definition of “genetic resources”11 and introduces the concept of “utilization” of genetic resources, which according to the Nagoya Protocol means “to conduct research and development on the genetic and/or biochemical composition of genetic resources, including through the application of biotechnology …”12 Thus, access to material that is not a genetic resource and access to a genetic resource for purposes other than research and development on its genetic and/or biochemical composition (e.g. access to milk for human consumption) are clearly outside the scope of the Nagoya Protocol. It remains to be seen whether, and to what extent, this definition of utilization proves to be useful in the AnGR subsector. Where, as in the case of AnGR, “research and development” and agricultural production occur in tandem, it may be difficult, in some situations, to distinguish “utilization” from activities related to production.

According to the Nagoya Protocol, access to a genetic resource for its utilization shall be subject to the prior informed consent of the Party that is the country of origin of the resource or has acquired the resource in accordance with the CBD, unless otherwise determined by that Party. Countries of origin of genetic resources, according to the CBD, are countries that possess them “in in situ conditions”, which are defined as “conditions where genetic resources exist within ecosystems and natural habitats, and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties”.13 The Nagoya Protocol further states that benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources shall be shared with the providing Party in a fair and equitable way on the basis of mutually agreed terms.14 A potential problem in this regard is that for animal breeds that are the result of dispersed contributions and that owe their development to a range of actors and environments in several different countries, it will often be difficult to identify the country in which they “developed their distinctive properties.”

The Nagoya Protocol also requires its Parties to “take measures, as appropriate, with the aim of ensuring that traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources that is held by indigenous and local communities is accessed with prior and informed consent or approval and involvement of these indigenous and local communities, and that mutually agreed terms have been established.”^15^

They are also required to ensure that

“the benefits arising from the utilization of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources are shared in a fair and equitable way with the communities holding such knowledge, upon mutually agreed terms.”^16^

Also with regard to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, the Nagoya Protocol states that

“Parties shall endeavour to support, as appropriate, the development by indigenous and local communities, including women within these communities, of: (a) Community protocols in relation to access to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of such knowledge …”^17^

The potential role of so-called biocultural community protocols in AnGR management is discussed in Part 4 Section D.

The key components of the Nagoya Protocol include the compliance measures: appropriate, effective and proportionate measures to provide that genetic resources utilized within a Party’s jurisdiction are of good legal status, i.e. have been accessed with prior informed consent, and that mutually agreed terms have been established, as required by the relevant domestic ABS measures.18 The rationale for these compliance measures is to discourage illegal access to, or acquisition of, genetic resources. To support compliance, countries have to monitor, and enhance the transparency of, the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, including designating one or more so-called checkpoints.19 While the Nagoya Protocol’s “user-country” measures may well have a deterrent effect in countries that implement and effectively enforce them, they may pose substantial administrative and logistical challenges in many countries. Similarly, Parties will need to consider the potential costs (transaction costs, administrative costs, etc.) of measures they are considering introducing in order to implement the Nagoya Protocol with respect to AnGR. The Nagoya Protocol does not distinguish between user and provider countries. All Parties will have to adopt user-country compliance measures.

2.3Intellectual property rights

As discussed in the first SoW-AnGR,20 rapid developments in the field of biotechnology have focused attention on the issue of intellectual property rights in relation to AnGR. Since 2007, the debate on these matters has continued in various international fora. While these debates continue, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) remains the main international legal framework in this field. While the TRIPS Agreement, under its Article 27, states that patents shall be available for any invention, whether product or process, in all fields of technology, it allows for some exemptions to patentability. Of particular relevance in the context of AnGR management is the following wording from paragraph 3(b) of Article 27:

“Members may also exclude from patentability … plants and animals other than microorganisms, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than non-biological and microbiological processes.”

At the same time, the TRIPS Agreement does not prescribe a specific notion of invention and does not explicitly bind WTO Member States either to allow or to forbid the patentability of substances existing in nature. For further information on the question of the patentability of substances existing in nature, see WIPO (2011).

Article 27.3(b) states that a review of provisions on optional exceptions to patentability should take place four years after the entry into force of the WTO Agreement, i.e. in 1999. This review took place, but did not reach a definitive conclusion. After the Doha Declaration of 2001 (WTO, 2001), the discussion on the review of Article 27.3(b) was broadened to include the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD, as well as the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore. Debate on this issue is still ongoing.

In addition to the developments in WTO fora, discussions on this topic are also taking place elsewhere. In 2000, members of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) established an Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. In 2009, WIPO members agreed to develop an international legal instrument (or instruments) that would give genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions effective protection. This process is also ongoing. In particular, WIPO members are considering whether, and to what extent, the intellectual property system should be used to ensure and track compliance with ABS systems in national laws established pursuant to the CBD, its Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty.

One of the options under discussion is to develop mandatory disclosure requirements that would require patent applicants to show the source or origin of genetic resources, and also possibly evidence of prior informed consent and a benefit-sharing agreement. Another key issue is that of defensive protection of genetic resources, i.e. the implementation of measures aimed at preventing patents that do not fulfil the patentability requirements of novelty and inventiveness from being granted over genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. Defensive protection measures could include, for example, the creation of databases on genetic resources and traditional knowledge to help patent examiners find relevant prior art and avoid the granting of erroneous patents. Over the years, WIPO has developed a number of tools in the area of intellectual property and genetic resources, including a database of Biodiversity-related Access and Benefit-sharing Agreements21 and Intellectual Property Guidelines for Access to Genetic Resources and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits arising from their Utilization (WIPO, 2013).

Additional developments have taken place in the forum organized by WIPO’s Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), established in 1998. The work of the Standing Committee led, in 2000, to the adoption of the Patent Law Treaty, which aims to harmonize certain formal aspects of the patent grant procedure. The scope of the Patent Law Treaty, however, does not cover substantive aspects of patent law. In order to harmonize the latter, the Standing Committee began, in 2001, to discuss a draft substantive patent law treaty. In 2006, the draft was put aside because no consensus had been reached on it. Although the draft treaty has been abandoned for the time being, the importance of conducting an international debate on substantive patent law has been recognized and the Standing Committee has been maintained. Currently, five topics related to substantive patent law are under debate within the Standing Committee, namely: exceptions and limitations to patent rights; technology transfer; quality of patents, including opposition systems; confidentiality of communications between patent advisors and their clients; and patents and health.

The first SoW-AnGR included a subsection on the role of patenting as an “emerging issue” in AnGR management.22 Trends in the use of patents in the AnGR subsector were recently subject to a more in-depth analysis as the basis for the preparation of a WIPO patent landscape report (WIPO, 2014). Findings are summarized in Box 3F1.

Another aspect of the TRIPS Agreement that has some relevance for AnGR management is regulation of the use of geographical indications. Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreement defines geographical indications as “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.” Member countries are obliged to provide legal means by which the “use of any means in the designation or presentation of a good that indicates or suggests that the good in question originates in a geographical area other than the true place of origin in a manner which misleads the public as to the geographical origin of the good” can be prevented. Article 23 provides additional protection for geographical indications for wines and spirits.

Articles 22 and 23 have been subject to negotiations under the Doha Round.23 A special session of the Council for TRIPS24 has been negotiating the establishment of a multilateral register for wines and spirits, which would register geographical indications for wines and spirits and provide notification of the registries for those Members using the system. Linked to the negotiations of the multilateral register, are discussions on the extension of the higher level of protection, as provided for in Article 23, beyond wines and spirits. Members remain deeply divided on this issue. Those in favour of expanding the register have argued that a higher level of protection for more goods is a better way to defend and market locally based products (e.g. WTO, 2005). Those in opposition have argued that the existing level of protection is adequate and that expanding protection would create unnecessary burdens that would disrupt legitimate marketing practices (Taubman et al., 2012). As part of the ongoing review pursuant to Article 24.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, negotiations on other matters related to geographical indications continue under the auspices of the Council for TRIPS. These include a stock-taking exercise of national practices in this field (WTO, 1998; 2010). Given the role of product marketing in the “valorization” of livestock breeds (see Part 3 Section D and Part 4 Section D), these developments are potentially relevant to AnGR management. However, their significance is difficult to assess.

The issue of patenting in the AnGR subsector has always been controversial. While some stakeholders argue that the possibility of obtaining a patent helps to stimulate innovation, others express a range of ethical and socio-economic concerns.25 The trend towards greater use of the intellectual property rights system to incentivize and protect advances in breeding and associated technologies has been one of the factors motivating various civil society organizations to advocate the establishment of so-called livestock keepers’ rights (see Part 3 Section A) and biocultural community protocols (see Part 4 Section D).

2.4Regulation of international trade, including sanitary issues

The main international legal framework regulating trade livestock and livestock products is provided by the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (adopted in 1994).26 Trade in animals and animal products is greatly affected by sanitary rules, i.e. many countries’ ability to trade is limited as a result of their having a poorer disease status than potential trading partners. This can have a knock-on effect on AnGR management. For example, access to breeding animals or genetic material may be constrained and restrictions on access to export markets may affect demand for livestock products and hence the profitability of using particular types of AnGR.

The WTO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) aims to ensure that trade restrictions are minimized by requiring that members ensure “that any sanitary or phytosanitary measure is applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health, is based on scientific principles and is not maintained without sufficient scientific evidence …” (Article 2, paragraph 2). Measures that “conform to international standards, guidelines or recommendations” are “deemed to be necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health, and presumed to be consistent with the relevant provisions [of the agreement]” (Article 3, paragraph 2). In the case of animals and animal products, the relevant international standards are those of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)^27^ and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.28 Countries can implement more restrictive standards if there is scientific justification or if determined to be appropriate based on the risk assessment procedures set out in the agreement (Article 3, paragraph 3).

The legal framework for trade and sanitary matters that was in place in 2005/2006 remains largely unchanged in 2014. One issue that has become increasingly prominent in recent years is the question of private-sector standards, such as those set by supermarket chains. Standards of this type have the potential to affect demand for animal products and hence the use and development of AnGR. In 2011, the WTO’s Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures agreed to take some actions aimed at reducing the potential negative effects of private-sector standards on countries’ abilities to trade internationally (WTO, 2011). Discussions on this topic have continued, but at the time of writing remain unresolved.

2.5Conclusions

As far as legally binding instruments relevant to the management of AnGR are concerned, the most significant development of recent years has been the adoption and entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol. Implications for the AnGR sub-sector are not yet clear. Efforts to ensure appropriate provisions for the various subsectors of food and agriculture are ongoing, inter alia under the auspices of the CGRFA. Negotiations on various international legal frameworks that may directly or indirectly affect the management of AnGR, most notably on issues related to international trade and intellectual property rights, are also ongoing. The Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources notes the need to ensure that the various international instruments that affect countries’ capacities to exchange, use and conserve AnGR, and to trade animal products, are mutually supportive. It calls for a review of such frameworks

“with a view to ensuring that [they] … take into account the special importance of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture for food security, the distinctive features of these resources needing distinctive solutions, the importance of science and innovation, and the need to balance the goals and objectives of the various agreements, as well as the interests of regions, countries and stakeholders, including livestock keepers.”^29^

Whether or not AnGR-related concerns are successfully mainstreamed into negotiations related to the ongoing development of international legal frameworks, these frameworks will continue to influence the development of the livestock sector internationally and hence affect the use of AnGR. It is therefore important that stakeholders involved in AnGR management pay attention to developments in the international legal arena and have the capacity to follow them and interpret their implications for the subsector. There may be some need for capacity-development and awareness-raising in this field.

In terms of international policy, the major development since the time the first SoW-AnGR was prepared has been the adoption of the Global Plan of Action. Countries’ ongoing commitment to the process has been demonstrated by developments such as the adoption of the Funding Strategy for the Global Plan of Action and the establishment of a mechanism for monitoring implementation, as well as by the large number of countries that reported on their implementation activities in 2012 and 2014. The Global Plan of Action was envisaged as a rolling plan, with an initial time horizon of ten years. The outputs of the second SoW-AnGR process will provide a basis for reviewing and potentially revising the Global Plan of Action (FAO, 2014b; 2015).

The adoption of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Targets, including Target 13 on the maintenance of genetic diversity, was another major development. Updated national biodiversity strategy and action plans, the main instruments for the implementation of the CBD at country level, are increasingly including references to AnGR and actions related to their management (see Subsection 4 for further discussion).

3Regional frameworks

This subsection discusses the effects of legal and policy frameworks at regional level (i.e. applying to a group of countries) on the management of AnGR, focusing particularly on developments since the first SoW-AnGR was drafted in 2005/2006. The equivalent subsection in the first SoW-AnGR focused largely on the legal and policy framework in place in the European Union (EU),30 because of its comprehensive nature and many AnGR-relevant provisions. EU frameworks are, similarly, the main focus of this updated analysis (particularly given that the frameworks in most of the fields discussed in the first AnGR have been updated during the intervening period). Regional-level policy frameworks, and in particular regional-level legally binding instruments, in fields directly relevant to AnGR management are rare in other regions. The discussion of instruments outside the EU is therefore, inevitably, relatively brief in comparison. Initiatives at regional level not specifically related to legal and policy frameworks, particularly the activities of regional focal points for the management of AnGR, are discussed in Part 3 Section A.

3.1The European Union

EU legislation relevant to AnGR management addresses a range of different topics, including conservation, zootechnics (animal breeding), animal health, trade in animals and animal products, organic agriculture, food and feed safety, the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and access and benefit-sharing. The EU utilizes several different types of legal instrument, some of which are binding and some of which are not. Binding instruments fall into three main categories: regulations, directives and decisions. A regulation is a legislative act that must be applied in its entirety across the whole EU. A directive sets out goals that member countries must achieve, but leaves it up to countries to decide how they wish to achieve the these goals. A decision is binding on those (e.g. an EU country or an individual company) to whom it is addressed and is directly applicable (EU, 2014a).

General frameworks addressing agriculture, rural development and biodiversity

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) comprises a set of rules and mechanisms regulating the production, trade and processing of agricultural products in the EU. It has a major influence on the agricultural sector in EU member countries and has major implications for the management of all resources used in agriculture, including AnGR. The first SoW-AnGR emphasized the significance for AnGR management of the reforms to the CAP that had occurred over the preceding decade and a half, particularly the introduction of agri-environmental schemes, first under Council Regulation (EEC) No 2078/92 and then under Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/99. At the time the first SoW-AnGR was drafted, Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, a new act providing a framework for support for rural development, financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, had recently been passed. The objective of the fund, whose first funding period ended in 2013, is to improve the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry, the state of the environment and the countryside, and the quality of life and economic activity in rural areas (EU, 2012). On the basis of strategic guidelines (Council Decision 2006/144/EC), EU member countries developed national rural development strategy plans (RDP) for the 2007 to 2013 period. These plans constituted the reference framework for rural development programmes featuring measures grouped around four “axes”: 1. improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector; 2. improving the environment and the countryside; 3. quality of life in rural areas and diversification of the rural economy; and 4. “LEADER” (related to local development strategies involving public–private partnerships).

Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 states specifically (Article 39) that, under Axis 2, agri-environment payments can be provided for the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture. The actions under the other axes do not directly target AnGR. However, they potentially influence demand for different types of AnGR via demand for the various products and services that they provide. Measures that promote the diversification of the rural economy and the economic sustainability of rural livelihoods, particularly those of smaller-scale producers in harsh or remote production systems, have at least some potential to provide indirect support to the maintenance of diverse AnGR.

The background to the establishment of these instruments was the CAP reform of 2003, which involved the decoupling of farm support payments from production and the introduction of so-called single farm payments (Council Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003; Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009). It was noted at the time that these developments, at least in theory, had the potential to reduce the profitability of keeping at-risk breeds and bring about a fall in their population sizes unless alternative economic incentives emerged (Canali and the Econogene Consortium, 2006). Concerns were also expressed about an increase in the minimum area eligible for single farm payments, because of the significant role played in breed conservation by part-time farmers and hobby breeders operating on small areas of land (RBST, 2009). Zjalic (2008) noted that the expected decline in the overall number of sheep and goats in the EU as a result of decoupling could prove to be a threat to some breeds, but also that agri-environmental schemes providing payments for raising at-risk breeds might become increasingly attractive as an alternative source of income. Such reflections about future trends are, however, inevitably rather speculative. A review undertaken in 2010, based on consultations with National Coordinators for the Management of Animal Genetic Resources from EU countries (Zjalic, 2010), suggested that the effects of the reforms on the status of at-risk breeds had generally not been large.

In 2010, the European Commission launched a public debate on the future of the CAP, which attracted 5 700 submissions from stakeholders, think tanks and research organizations, and the general public. The report summarizing the outcome of the process concluded there was considerable consensus among EU citizens that the objectives of agriculture in the EU should be “provision of a safe, healthy choice of food, at transparent and affordable prices; ensuring sustainable use of the land; activities that sustain rural communities and the countryside; and security of food supply (European Commission, 2010). The specific “directions to be followed” identified via the consultation process included efforts to “protect the environment and bio-diversity, conserve the countryside, sustain the rural economy and preserve/create rural jobs, and mitigate climate change” (ibid.).

In 2011, the European Commission presented a set of legal proposals for the future of the CAP (EU, 2014b) and an “impact assessment” of various policy options (European Commission, 2011). In June 2013, political agreement on CAP reform was reached. In December of the same year, four basic regulations were adopted – Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 on rural development, Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 on “horizontal” issues such as funding and controls, Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 on direct payments to farmers and Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 on market measures – along with transitional rules for the year 2014. Under the regulation on rural development, “agri-environment-climate” support payments can be made “for the conservation and for the sustainable use and development of genetic resources in agriculture.” Under the same regulation, the European Commission is also empowered to adopt delegated acts31 related to “the conditions applicable to commitments to rear local breeds that are in danger of being lost to farming or to preserve plant genetic resources that are under threat of genetic erosion.” In this regard, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 807/2014, adopted in March 2014, sets out rules for determining whether a breed is “in danger of being lost to farming.” In contrast to previous arrangements, the new framework does not include a set of population thresholds. Member states are required to determine for themselves whether breeds fall into this category. The following conditions must be met:

“(a) the number of breeding females at national level concerned is stated;

(b) that number and the endangered status of the listed breeds is certified by a duly recognised relevant scientific body;

© a duly recognised relevant technical body registers and keeps up-to-date the herd or flock book for the breed;

(d) the bodies concerned possess the necessary skills and knowledge to identify animals of the breeds in danger.”

The effects that the other aspects of the 2014 CAP reform will have on AnGR management are difficult to predict. Developments such as the provision of support for young people entering the agricultural sector and a range of measures to support the economic and social vitality of rural areas, along with the above-mentioned agri-environmental measures, are broadly compatible with efforts to support livestock-keeping livelihoods that involve the use of breeds that are at risk, or potentially at risk, of extinction (SAVE Foundation, 2013). With regard to the abolition of milk quotas, the country report from Poland notes that this is likely to have a significant effect on the utilization of AnGR, although precise outcomes are difficult to predict. The report notes that Poland has high potential to increase dairy production and that concentration of the sector might be very rapid and lead to substantial breed replacement.

In 2012, the European Commission launched the European Innovation Partnership “Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability” (EIP-AGRI) (European Commission, 2012a). European Innovation Partnerships are intended to “address weaknesses, bottlenecks and obstacles in the European research and innovation system that prevent or slow down good ideas being developed and brought to market” (European Commission, 2012b). The communication that launched EIP-AGRI heavily emphasized the important role of agricultural genetic resources, noting that “making use of European genetic diversity unlocks a vast potential for development.” Roles are foreseen across most of the “areas of innovative actions” described in the document, which range from “increased agricultural productivity, output, and resource efficiency” to “biodiversity, ecosystem services, and soil functionality” and “innovative products and services for the integrated supply chain.” A focus group on “genetic resources – cooperation models” has been established and held its first meeting in early 2014 (European Commission, 2014a).32

In the general field of biodiversity conservation and management, significant policy developments in recent years have included the adoption by the European Parliament (EU, 2007) of the 2006 Biodiversity Communication and Action Plan: “Halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 – and beyond” (European Commission, 2006a; 2006b; 2006c). The plan included a set of objectives, targets and actions. Most relevant to AnGR were Objective 2: “To Conserve and Restore Bio-diversity and Ecosystem Services in the Wider EU Countryside”, which under the heading “Agricultural and rural development policy” included the target “Member States have optimised use of opportunities under agricultural, rural development and forest policy to benefit biodiversity 2007–2013” and the action “Strengthen measures to ensure conservation, and availability for use, of genetic diversity of crop varieties, livestock breeds and races, and of commercial tree species in the EU, and promote in particular their in situ conservation.”

In 2011, the European Commission adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, which includes the headline target of “Halting the loss of bio-diversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss” (EU, 2011). Genetic resources for food and agriculture are targeted under several actions, including via references to facilitating “collaboration among farmers and foresters to achieve continuity of landscape features, protection of genetic resources and other cooperation mechanisms to protect biodiversity” (Action 9), encouraging “the uptake of agri-environmental measures to support genetic diversity in agriculture and explore the scope for developing a strategy for the conservation of genetic diversity” (Action 10) and regulating “access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use” (Action 20). In 2012, the European Parliament adopted a resolution33 on the biodiversity strategy. Of particular relevance to AnGR management are paragraphs 71 and 72 of the resolution, which call for

“appropriate legislation and incentives for the maintenance and further development of diversity in farm genetic resources, e.g. locally adapted breeds and varieties”

and stress

“the need for more effective cooperation at European level in the field of scientific and applied research regarding the diversity of animal and plant genetic resources in order to ensure their conservation, improve their ability to adapt to climate change, and promote their effective take-up in genetic improvement programmes.”

Animal genetic resources management

This subsection discusses instruments that specifically target the management of AnGR. These instruments fall roughly into two categories: those targeting animal breeding or “zootechnics” and those targeting the broader sustainable management of AnGR, with particular emphasis on breeds that are at risk of extinction.

EU zootechnical legislation addresses a range of issues related to animal breeding. The legal framework described in the first SoW-AnGR34 was largely still in place at the time of writing (July 2014). Separate sets of legal instruments are in place for each of the main mammalian livestock species or species groups raised in the EU (bovine, porcine, ovine and caprine, and equine) addressing a range of different aspects of the breeding process and trade in breeding animals (recognition of breeding organizations, entering in herdbooks, pedigree certificates and acceptance for breeding). For “other breeding animals” a basic directive is in place, but no implementing measures providing rules for the various above-listed elements. Another set of instruments regulates the import of breeding animals and genetic material from outside the EU and a further Council Decision regulates the operation of INTERBULL as the official reference centre for pure-bred breeding animals of bovine species. The main objectives of this body of legislation are to promote public health and food safety (rules on identification and registration), ensure the quality of traded breeding stock (rules requiring uniform breeding methods) and promote equity among breeders (rules ensuring that all breeders and breeding organizations are subject to the same requirements).

At the time of writing, a review of these measures was underway with a view to their consolidation under a single regulation and directive, the aim being (inter alia) to address concerns about inconsistencies in the interpretation of the existing provisions by the authorities in different countries and hence potential obstacles to trade and the operation of the EU single market (European Commission, 2014b; 2014c). It is expected that this review will be completed by the end of 2015.

As described above, Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 allowed for the provision of agri-environment payments for the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture, and similar provisions are now in place under Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013. These payments are the mainstays of support for in situ conservation measures in the EU. However, support for a range of activities related to the conservation and sustainable use of AnGR is also addressed within the framework of Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004, which established a second Community Programme on the “conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture.” Actions that can potentially receive support under the programme include those related to establishing inventories of conservation measures and the exchange of scientific and technical information, as well as those more directly related to conservation (in situ and ex situ), characterization, etc. Seventeen co-funded actions under the programme commenced in 2007, with a maximum duration of four years (European Commission, 2013a).35 Five of these projects targeted AnGR: Towards self-sustainable European Regional Cattle Breeds;36 An Integrated Network of Decentralized Country Biodiversity and Genebank Databases;37 Heritage Sheep;38 European Livestock Breeds Ark and Rescue Net;39 and A Global View of Livestock Bio-diversity and Conservation.40

An independent expert evaluation of the Community Programme published in 2013 (European Commission, 2013b) noted a number of positive outcomes and recommended that the programme should be continued. It concluded that the programme had:

“a. stimulated considerable interest among various groups of stakeholders within the European Union and beyond;

b. promoted collaboration among diverse groups of stakeholders in different countries;

c. led to the establishment of useful links and partnerships across Europe;

d. advanced the understanding of some local practices and needs;

e. led to useful results and guidelines for the conservation of valuable genetic resources;

f. established well characterised and evaluated core collections and cryo-banks of various plant and animal species; and

g. improved the scientific knowledge on the nature, management and potential of genetic resources of some species of farm animals, crops and forest trees in Europe.”

However, the assessment noted that the utilization component of the programme had not been addressed to the same extent as the other components. To address this gap, it recommended that “the primary objective of selected Actions be the delivery of appropriate utilisation of agricultural genetic resources in practice” and that “increased involvement of end-users and small and medium enterprises in the funded actions, to ensure the immediate transfer and implementation of project results.” With regard to AnGR management specifically, the submission provided by the European Regional Focal Point on Animal Genetic Resources to the expert evaluation emphasized the opportunity that the programme provided to link “on-farm” conservation activities to research activities (ERFP, 2012). It also noted that applied research under the five AnGR-related co-funded actions had contributed enormously to the sustainable management of AnGR. The weak points of the programme were considered to be the limited amount of funding available overall and the lack of continuity associated with project-based activities (ibid.).

With the aim of implementing the recommendations of the evaluation of the second Community Programme, the European Parliament, in 2013, allocated 1.5 million euros for a “preparatory action on EU plant and animal genetic resources”41 that would review the state of genetic resources-related activities in the EU and make practical recommendations for future improvements (European Commission, 2013c).

The following themes were identified for inclusion in the review:

“improvement of the communication between Member States concerning best practice and the harmonisation of efforts in the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources”;

“enhancing networking among key stakeholders and end-users in view of exploring marketing (and other cooperation) opportunities, such as provided by quality schemes and short supply chains”;

“improvement of the exchange of knowledge and research on genetic diversity in agricultural systems”;

“adaptation of breeding methods and legislation to the need of conservation and sustainable use of genetic diversity”;

“contribution to the successful implementation of rural development measures concerning genetic diversity in agriculture”;

“explore bottlenecks and enabling conditions for the sustainable use of genetic resources in agriculture”; and

“reduction of the unnecessary administrative burden so as to provide better access to actions.”

Access and benefit-sharing

Following the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol (see Subsection 2), the EU was faced with the task of establishing dedicated legislation that would enable it to proceed with ratification and implementation. A draft regulation was developed by the European Commission (European Commission, 2012c), based on an extensive impact assessment study covering all relevant economic sectors and involving broad stakeholder consultation (European Commission, 2012d). The draft regulation covered the elements of the Nagoya Protocol that required harmonization and were better addressed at EU level – namely user measures and compliance – leaving access requirements to be considered by the individual EU Member States.

The draft regulation, together with the proposal for the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol, was presented to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in October 2012. The submission of the draft regulation was followed by an intensive period of discussions and negotiations between the different EU institutions involved in the legislative process. Political compromise between the co-legislators – the Council and the European Parliament – on the text of a draft regulation was achieved at the end of 2013. The vote in the Plenary of the European Parliament took place in March 2014 and the Council of Ministers adopted the regulation the following month. Successful completion of the process enabled ratification of the Nagoya Protocol by the EU on 16 May 2014 and publication of Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 on 20 May. The remaining step at EU level was to develop and agree on implementing acts. An ABS Committee established by the European Commission completed this task in July 2015. The ratification of the Nagoya Protocol by individual Member States is proceeding in accordance with their internal procedures.

The regulation sets out rules governing compliance with the Nagoya Protocol’s provisions on access and benefit-sharing for genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. It is based on the principle that users of genetic resources should exercise “due diligence” in ascertaining that applicable rules on access and benefit-sharing have been and are followed (Article 4). The due diligence concept, which is elaborated in the EU timber regulation (Regulation (EU) No 995/2010), contains three elements: provision of information; risk assessment; and risk mitigation. The benefit-sharing requirements of the Nagoya Protocol are to be dealt with on the basis of “mutually agreed terms” between the provider and the user.

Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 also covers compliance measures, such as checkpoints (Article 7) and risk-based monitoring of users (Article 9), as well as the establishment of competent authorities and national focal points, and reporting and submission of information to the Access Benefit Sharing Clearing House.42 It requires Member States to establish penalties that are effective, proportionate and dissuasive. It also establishes important compliance-facilitation tools, such as EU-registered collections (Article 5) and recognized best practices (Article 8).

The influence that the Nagoya Protocol will have on the management of AnGR in the EU is difficult to predict. Effects will depend heavily on the access legislation adopted by individual Member States and other Parties to the Nagoya Protocol. However, it is possible that the new arrangements will help to promote gene banking and the development of AnGR held in the public domain.

Animal health

The first SoW-AnGR provided an overview of the EU framework for animal health – a large body of instruments addressing various individual species, health problems and livestock-sector activities – and noted a number of potential effects on AnGR and their management. Given that animal health problems can pose a direct threat to the survival of at-risk breed populations and can undermine the economic sustainability of livestock-keeping livelihoods, a well-regulated animal-health system is an important component of AnGR management in the broad sense. Potentially negative consequences include the effects of compulsory culling campaigns on at-risk breed populations and various restrictions and requirements that may constrain conservation activities or the keeping of certain breeds in their traditional production systems. The report noted both that some problems of this type had arisen at EU level and that some steps had been taken to address them (e.g. allowing for potential derogations for at-risk breeds in the event of a culling campaign and adjusting animal identification requirements to account for problems encountered in certain extensive production systems).

In 2008, the European Commission adopted a communication on an action plan for the implementation of a new animal health strategy for the EU for the six years to 2013 (European Commission, 2008). The strategy document, subtitled “Prevention is better than cure”, noted the challenges posed by new and re-emerging diseases and by the increased volume of trade in animal products, both within the EU and with third countries. The strategy was based on four main pillars: “1. Prioritisation of EU intervention; 2. The EU animal health framework; 3. Prevention, surveillance and preparedness; and 4. Science, innovation and research” (European Commission, 2007).

With regard to regulation, the objective was to develop a “single clear regulatory framework” converging as far as possible with the standards and guidelines of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)^43^ and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.44 After extensive consultations a proposal for a new regulation on animal health was published in 2013 (European Commission, 2013d), the intention being to streamline the large number of existing instruments in this field into a single law. In April 2014, the European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution containing a number of amendments to the draft act (EU, 2014c). These amendments featured a number of references to AnGR management, including statements that:

  • competent authorities should consider effects on diversity and the need to conserve AnGR when deciding upon what actions to take in the event of a disease outbreak;
  • the European Commission should take breed-level diversity into account when adopting delegated acts related to the approval of establishments45 of various kinds; and
  • breed should be included as a data item in traceability systems for genetic material.

Organic products and other specialized food products

Supplying products to niche markets is recognized as a potential means of keeping breeds in profitable production and thereby reducing the likelihood that they will fall out of use and face the risk of extinction (see Part 4 Section D). Niche marketing can be facilitated by the existence of a legal framework that regulates the designation and labelling of particular classes of products that have characteristics that make them attractive to particular groups of consumers.

The first SoW-AnGR noted the existence of a number of EU quality schemes covering animal products, and briefly described the legal framework established during the 1990s to regulate the operation of these schemes.46 A new framework was put in place in 2006: Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 on protected geographical indications (PDI) and protected designations of origin (PDO); and Council Regulation (EC) No 509/2006 on traditional specialties guaranteed (TSG). In the case of PDIs and PDOs, the rules stated that a name could not be registered if it conflicted “with the name of a plant variety or an animal breed and as a result is likely to mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product.” The regulation on TSGs, however, stated that the “name of a plant variety or breed of animal may form part of the name of a traditional speciality guaranteed, provided that it is not misleading as regards the nature of the product.” Rules related to product specification (i.e. the description of the product for the purposes of its registration under one of the quality schemes) included no references to breed-related information. Many PDIs, PDOs and TGIs for animal products involve no requirement that the product comes from a specific breed.

2012 saw the adoption of a new unified instrument, Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012. The main innovative feature of this instrument is the establishment of a scheme for the use of “optional quality terms”, the objective being “to facilitate the communication within the internal market of the value-adding characteristics or attributes of agricultural products by the producers thereof.” The regulation establishes the term “mountain product” as an optional quality term and requires the European Commission to investigate the case for a new term “product of island farming”. A report setting out the pros and cons of introducing this term was published late in 2013 (European Commission, 2013f). Conditions of use for the “mountain product” quality term are further elaborated under Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 665/2014. The European Commission has also investigated the possibility of establishing a labelling scheme for “local farming and direct sales” (European Commission, 2013f).

The EU legal framework for organic agriculture has also been revised since the time the first SoW-AnGR was drafted (2005/2006). The main instrument in the current framework is Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, which addresses both crop and livestock production. Detailed rules for the implementation of this regulation are set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008. Under this new framework, provisions related to the choice of breeds for organic livestock production are similar to those previously in place,47 i.e. account must be taken of animals’ capacity to adapt to local conditions. Likewise, both the 1999 and the 2007 regulations refer to the use of well-adapted breeds being a fundamental element of organic disease-control strategies. The 2007 regulation also refers to the use of well-adapted breeds as a means of avoiding the use of welfare-unfriendly practices. The provisions of the 2007 regulation that address the use of “non-organic” animals for breeding purposes, allow some additional flexibility in the use of such animals in the case of breeds that are at risk of extinction.

On the policy front, the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming, launched by the European Commission in 2004 (European Commission 2004a; 2004b), was replaced in 2014 by the Action Plan for the Future of Organic Production in the European Union (European Commission, 2014d). The new plan aims to ensure, inter alia, that consumer trust and the integrity of organic production are maintained in the face of rising demand and changing societal expectations, while also avoiding overcomplicated rules that exclude small operators and maintaining the innovative role of the organic sector. It contains no specific references to the role of AnGR diversity in organic agriculture.

A legislative proposal for a new regulation (replacing that of 2007) was published by the European Commission in March 2014 (European Commission, 2014e; 2014f). The roles of well-adapted breeds are again highlighted and the above-mentioned provision related to the use of non-organic breeding animals from at-risk breeds is maintained (in other respects, the rules regarding the origin of breeding animals for use in organic agriculture become less flexible).

The precise implications of these developments for AnGR management remain unclear. While the growth of organic production probably contributes to some degree to increasing demand for locally adapted animals – and thus keeping relevant laws and policies updated is likely to be conducive to sustainable AnGR management – in many cases, organic production is based on “mainstream” breeds widely used in conventional agriculture. Effects on the use of AnGR at national level in some EU countries are discussed below in Subsection 4.4. Some criticism has been directed at the current EU framework on the grounds that allowing the widespread use of mainstream animals in organic agriculture creates welfare problems because of these animals’ lack of adaptedness to more “natural” production environments (Compassion in World Farming, 2013; Eurogroup for Animals, 2013).

Animal welfare

The main EU legal instrument on the welfare of animals kept for farming purposes is Council Directive 98/58/EC. This directive includes rules on the use of breeding procedures and others related to the need to ensure that “on the basis of their genotype or phenotype” animals “can be kept without detrimental effect on their health and welfare.” Specific instruments addressing the welfare of laying hens, calves, pigs and broiler chickens are also in place. The main developments since the time the first SoW-AnGR was drafted (2005/2006) have been the adoption of Council Directive 2007/43/EC on broiler welfare and Council Directive 2008/119/EC and Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009, updating, respectively, rules on calf welfare and welfare at the time of slaughter. The main policy instrument in this field is the EU Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012–2015 (European Commission, 2012e). The various new laws and policies do not include any provisions specifically related to the use of breeding technologies or to the circumstances in which particular genotypes can be raised. However, the broiler Directive does request a report on genetic parameters and their influence on broiler welfare.

The extent to which welfare-related instruments affect the management of AnGR is difficult to estimate. As production systems are adapted to meet welfare rules, demand for various types of AnGR is likely to change to some degree. More direct effects may potentially arise in connection with the use of breeds that have specific pheno-types that may affect their welfare. An interesting example of a cattle breed whose use has been the subject to legal challenges is the Belgian White Blue, which because of its double muscling phenotype has a high rate of caesarean sections (Lips et al., 2001). During the 1990s, the European Court of Justice ruled that under European zootechnical legislation (Directive 87/328/EEC) Sweden could not forbid, because of welfare concerns, the use of imported semen from this breed, on the grounds that “national authorities are not entitled to reject the use of semen of that breed … since the genetic peculiarities and defects of an animal may be defined only in the Member State in which the breed of cattle has been accepted for artificial insemination” (Case C-162/97).48 In other words, as the Belgian authorities had approved the breed for artificial insemination, no restrictions on the use of its semen could be imposed by any EU member state.

Food and feed safety

In the field of food and feed safety, the main instruments noted in the first SoW-AnGR – Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 and Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 – continue to form the backbone of the EU legal framework. A new regulation on the traceability of food of animal origin, Regulation (EU) No 931/2011, has been put in place. These instruments do not include any provisions specifically related to breeding or AnGR management. Effective frameworks addressing these matters are, in general, likely to benefit livestock-keeping livelihoods by promoting animal health and consumer confidence in animal products and hence in some circumstances may indirectly benefit AnGR diversity. However, such legislation can potentially prove onerous for small-scale producers and may also create problems for the marketing of some speciality products (see Subsection 4 for further discussion).

3.2Other regional frameworks

Many parts of the world have regional or subregional intergovernmental bodies that promote economic or political cooperation among their member countries. In some cases, these bodies have the authority to adopt legally binding instruments. Whether or not this is the case, they normally have some policies and strategies that aim to coordinate the actions of their member countries within particular areas of activity. Outside the EU, regional legal frameworks, where they exist, are relatively undeveloped and include few instruments specifically targeting the livestock sector, with the partial exception of animal health-related matters. It is beyond the scope of this report to review the legal and policy frameworks of all the world’s regional and subregional bodies and their potential effects on AnGR management. However, a number of examples of livestock-related and AnGR-related instruments (mostly policy instruments) are discussed below.

Several of the subregional economic communities of Africa have developed policies that directly target AnGR management, as well as various provisions addressing the livestock sector in a broader sense. For example, in 2005, the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)^49^ adopted a regional agricultural policy referred to as ECOWAP (Decision A/Dec. 11/01/05). Livestock-related elements of the policy include plans to harmonize sanitary norms and standards and to establish a regional programme on transhumance. A decision on the use of “transhumance certificates” to regulate the cross-border movements of pastoralists had previously been adopted (Decision A/Dec. 5/10/98).50 2010 saw the publication of the Strategic Action Plan for the Development and Transformation of Livestock Sector in the ECOWAS Region (2011–2020) (ECOWAS Commission, 2010). The plan’s objectives include:

“Improvement of the performance of local breeds through emphasis on the following: (i) Evaluation and harmonisation of the management of genetic resources; (ii) Facilitation of the development of regional centres of excellence and genetic value addition to local breeds as well as capacity building.”

The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)^51^ for the period 2005 to 2020 includes the “sustainable management and utilization of farm animal genetic resources” among its strategies for increasing production, productivity and profitability in the livestock sector (SADC, 2003). Other relevant elements of the plan include promoting diversification and intensification of crop and livestock systems and strengthening and broadening early warning systems for livestock diseases. None of SADC’s legally binding instruments target AnGR management specifically. However, the Protocol on Trade (1996) has an annex on sanitary and phyosanitary matters (approved in 2008). The organization has taken several initiatives of relevance to AnGR management in the region, including the Promotion of Regional Integration initiative, which operated between 2005 and 2009 with the aim of improving productivity and trade flows in the livestock sector, the Trans-boundary Animal Diseases Project and the Foot and Mouth Disease Programme.52

The African Union, as part of its efforts to foster agricultural development across the continent, has taken steps to promote the sustainable use and development of AnGR. For example, its framework for mainstreaming livestock into the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Programme53 calls for a number of actions targeting the characterization and conservation of AnGR, as well dissemination of information, technology transfer and harmonization of regulatory frameworks (AU-IBAR, 2010). The Strategic Plan 2014 to 2017 of the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) addresses the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources in Africa (AU-IBAR, 2013).

As described in the first SoW-AnGR,54 the African Union’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, developed a model law on the protection of the rights of farmers and the regulation of access to biological resources, to assist countries in the development of national policies and legislation in this field (OAU, 2000). In the wake of the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, the African Union Commission developed draft African Union Strategic Guidelines for the Coordinated Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, which were adopted by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in March 2015 (Decision 15/3).

In Latin America, the Andean Community of Nations55 has put in place a number of instruments relevant to AnGR management. For example, Decision 523 of 2002 approves the Regional Biodiversity Strategy for the Countries of the Tropical Andes. While this strategy does not include any provisions specifically addressing AnGR management, it includes a “line of action” on the conservation and sustainable use of native and locally adapted agrobiodiversity, which focuses, inter alia, on characterization, identifying means of stimulating the marketing and use of products and services to support in situ conservation, strengthening scientific and technical capacities, and addressing access and benefit-sharing issues. Decision 391 of 1996 establishes a common subregional regime for access to genetic resources. It targets all genetic resources, with no particular provisions for AnGR or for genetic resources for food and agriculture in general. Other relevant instruments in this subregion include Decision 328 on agricultural and animal health.

Elsewhere in the world, regional bodies have put in place few legal instruments or major policy instruments that target AnGR management or explicitly include it within broader fields of action such as livestock development or biodiversity conservation. One example of an instrument that acknowledges the significance of AnGR is the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf’s56 General Regulations of Environment in the GCC States (1997), which states that responsibilities of agencies responsible for environmental protection and conservation should include issuing and implementing rules and regulations related to, inter alia, “conservation of biological resources of local domesticated animals and local plants of economic value and improving them.”

3.3Conclusions

As recognized in the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, many aspects of AnGR management potentially benefit from coordination and cooperation at regional level. Regional collaboration does not necessarily depend on the existence of regional-level legal and policy frameworks. However, a lack of consistency and coordination at policy and legislative levels has the potential to inhibit both trade in genetic resources and non-commercial collaboration in conservation, research and so on. In this respect, a regional approach that facilitates harmonization may be useful. There may also be benefits in terms of cost effectiveness if countries are spared the need to develop their own frameworks from scratch. On the other hand, as with laws and policies at any level (e.g. national or global), regional frameworks have the potential to overburden stakeholders with costs and bureaucratic procedures or to fail because of a lack of capacity to implement them or because of poor design. Clearly, any plans to establish regional frameworks need to be well adapted to the needs and capacities of the respective regions. Experiences from the EU appear to indicate (see various examples above) that in some fields of activity legal and policy frameworks need to be overhauled quite frequently if they are to remain relevant – a point that may need to be borne in mind when considering the feasibility of regional approaches elsewhere. Another notable characteristic of developments in the EU are the wide-ranging stakeholder consultations that take place before any legal instruments are put in place.

Outside Europe, as was the case at the time of the first SoW-AnGR, regional policy and, particularly, legal instruments addressing AnGR management are few and far between. The topic appears not to have entered in any substantial way onto the agendas of many regional bodies. It is, of course, difficult without an in-depth analysis of circumstances in the respective regions to know what the potential benefits and costs of attempting to establish instruments of this kind might be.

Assessing the effects of existing frameworks is also difficult. In the EU, assessments of the impact of AnGR-related instruments have been published and indicate various positive outcomes. However, there is some concern about a lack of involvement of the “end-users” of genetic resources and a lack of focus on utilization relative to conservation. Little has been published on the effects of regional AnGR-related policies elsewhere in the world.

Changes since the time of the first SoW-AnGR have been quite substantial in Europe. Several areas of AnGR-relevant legislation have seen major revisions, often with the aim of consolidating and clarifying frameworks that had developed into elaborate sets of species- and topic-specific instruments. In many cases, the updated frameworks have been established only recently or are still in the process of development. 57 Their practical effects on AnGR management are therefore not yet evident. Outside Europe, the most prominent developments have been in policy rather than legal frameworks and mainly in Africa, both at continental (African Union) and at subregional levels.

List of legal instruments cited

Andean Community of Nations

Decision 328 Andean agricultural and livestock health (1992) (available at http://www.sice.oas.org/trade/junac/decisiones/Dec328e.asp).

Decision 391 Common regime on access to genetic resources (1996) (available at http://www.sice.oas.org/trade/junac/decisiones/dec391e.asp).

Decisión 523 Estrategia regional de biodiversidad para los países del trópico andino (2002) (available in Spanish at http://tinyurl.com/ppshlvb).

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf

General Regulations of Environment in the GCC States, 1997 (available at http://tinyurl.com/q7fjny3).

Economic Community of West African States

Décision A/DEC. 5/10/98 relative à la réglementation de la transhumance entre les états membres del la CEDEAO. Vingt-et-unième session ordinaire de la Conférence des chefs d’état et de gouvernement. Abuja 30–31 Octobre 1998 (available in French at http://tinyurl.com/nsobh9e).

Decision A/DEC. 11/01/05 adopting an agricultural policy for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAP). Twenty-eighth session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, Accra, 19th January 2005 (available at http://tinyurl.com/pz32kpy).

European Union

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 665/2014 of 11 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of