Production and the Environment
The rapidly expanding livestock production is exerting increased pressures on natural resources: Grazing land is threatened with degradation; water resources are becoming scarce; air, soil and water pollution are increasing; feed resources are becoming limiting; locally adapted genetic resources are not being developed and are being lost; and there is insufficient information available for the correct adjustment of the livestock sector to rapidly changing markets and resource management conditions. The strong shift towards industrial forms of production, which leads to better feed efficiency also produces large quantities of animal wastes, which if managed incorrectly may result in water pollution.
The possible negative effects of livestock farming have lead to legislation and regulation in some countries. Codes of good agricultural practices have also been launched to help guide farmers in methods of fertiliser and animal manure usage which will maintain grassland/forage yields while also protecting water and soil resources. The environmental effect of livestock farming has been highlighted by the publication “Livestock’s long shadow report” and FAO is examining ways to help reduce the environmental impact of livestock production.