Sustainable animal production
Humankind's relationship with animals is as
old as civilization itself. People used animals as partners in
hunting, as food and to increase the productivity of their agricultural
and transport activities. They started by harvesting wildlife
resources, through hunting animals in savannahs and forests as
well as fishing in rivers, lakes and the open sea. Animals have
thus become integrated in the sacred rituals and economic lives
of human culture: and domestication has created new, evolving
inter-dependencies. Domestic livestock plays a key role in the
transition from rural to urbanized industrial societies, by meeting
growing demands for high-quality food and contributing significantly
in the move from subsistence to market economies. Moreover, livestock
need feed resources, and interact dynamically with the environment
which requires continuous management to ensure sustainability.
Wildlife and domestic animals have close genetic
relationships, resulting in two other areas of concern - the conservation
of biodiversity and the health security of animal populations.
Exploring this complex relationship between humans, farmed animals,
the ecosystem and wildlife is a key driving force in research
aiming at meeting diverse pressures put on animals by society.
Issues include: food safety, security of animal populations in
relation to trade, animal productivity and economic goals, and
the impact of animals on the environment. Getting the knowledge
to reconcile all these objectives is the aim of S&T Co-operation
between the European Union and its partners in sustainable and
Research shows that enhancing the growth
of sessile plants and associated organisms on leaves, sticks and
bamboo in traditional ponds systems in South Asia can substantially
increase fish production. Importantly, the increase occurs without
the need for more fertilizers or feeds. The technique has value
for poor-resource farmers, ensuring cheap base material is available.
This INCO research mobilised teams from Bangladesh, India, the
Netherlands and the UK.
Controlling the 'Small Ruminants' Pest'
Caused by a virus of the rinderpest family,
this deadly disease affects sheep and goats in Sub-Saharan Africa,
the Mediterranean and Near East and South Asia, wreaking havoc
in smallholders' livelihoods. Several joint-research projects
involving European, African and Asian partners led to the discovery
and production of an efficient and affordable vaccine which is
now being used in close co-ordination with development aid projects
in the above regions.