Sustainable, efficient livestock production with high biodiversity and good welfare for animals

  • Broom D
  • Galindo F
  • Murgueitio E
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What is the future for livestock agriculture in the world? Consumers have concerns about sustainability but many widely used livestock production methods do not satisfy consumers' requirements for a sustainable system. However, production can be sustainable, occurring in environments that: supply the needs of the animals resulting in good welfare, allow coexistence with a wide diversity of organisms native to the area, minimize carbon footprint and provide a fair lifestyle for the people working there. Conservation need not just involve tiny islands of natural vegetation in a barren world of agriculture, as there can be great increases in biodiversity in farmed areas. Herbivores, especially ruminants that consume materials inedible by humans, are important for human food in the future. However, their diet should not be just ground-level plants. Silvopastoral systems, pastures with shrubs and trees as well as herbage, are described which are normally more productive than pasture alone. When compared with widely used livestock production systems, silvopastoral systems can provide efficient feed conversion, higher biodiversity, enhanced connectivity between habitat patches and better animal welfare, so they can replace existing systems in many parts of the world and should be further developed.

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  • D. M. Broom

  • F. A. Galindo

  • E. Murgueitio

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