English (en) | Change Language

The use of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, and other livestock offer many benefits to the growing global population and millions of farmers in the developing world. These animals are integral to rural livelihoods and local cultures, providing food (meat, eggs and other dairy products), materials (wool, hide, horns, etc.), income, and mechanical power for pulling carts, drawing water or plowing fields.

Livestock manure can serve as a source of fertilizer. Grazing can help sustain vegetation and promote biodiversity by dispersing seeds, controlling shrub growth, breaking soil crusts, stimulating grass growth and improving seed germination. Livestock may also represent savings and currency or have cultural value.

Properly managed, livestock production can enhance land and water quality, biodiversity, and social and economic well-being. However, when improperly managed, livestock production may cause significant economic, social and environmental damage. Increasing livestock production has the potential to increase environmental harm. This Livestock Sector Environmental Guideline helps identify potential adverse environmental impacts and mitigation and monitoring options to address them.