Author: carlo@eaap.org

Adri Kitshoff- Botha
CEO of Wildlife Ranching South Africa

Wildlife is synonymous with South Africa. The abundance of wildlife that sustained countless generations of indigenous people such as the Khoisan and Nguni Africans, enthralled the early European settlers. Today this natural heritage still enthrals citizens and visitors alike.
The narrative of the South African wildlife “timeline” is certainly interesting. How many people ever spare a thought to think about the abundance of wildlife which had roamed over the open range at the time of the arrival of Europeans at the Cape of Good Hope. Similar to the rest of Africa, our beautiful country was blessed with a wonderful natural renewable resource namely wildlife. One often reads of the large herds of many species of game in South Africa centuries ago, with herds so big that it sometimes took five days for a herd to pass by a camp. There are also numerous accounts of lion, leopard and buffalo which roamed in areas where we find towns and cities today.
Between then and now, many things happened which had an effect on our wildlife populations, such as urbanisation, agricultural development, diseases such as rinderpest and even social and political changes. From an agricultural point of view, wildlife was seen as a threat in two ways that lead to human-wildlife conflicts and extermination of “problem” animals. The one threat was direct hunting of easy prey and the other was more subtle and indirect: competition for grazing. Urbanisation was a further invasion of wildlife’s habitat and eventually, over many years, the once abundant spectrum of wildlife was destroyed and even led to the disappearance of certain species and habitat – a sad event. During the 1800’s to 1900’s, wildlife was under severe threat because of these developments and growth with South Africa eventually only having approximately 600,000 head of game.
During the 1900’s we saw the establishments of provincial and national parks where wildlife could once again flourish. Many of these parks are now well-known tourist destinations where the visitors can view wildlife safely and experience “Wild Africa” and the local culture.

In the mid 1900’s, the opportunities arose for private land owners to establish wildlife ranches. These slowly but surely developed into further havens for conserving wildlife and offering hunting experiences as. The hunting developed from the traditional “invitation hunts” where hunters were invited by farmers to experience hunting and reduce overstocking of game, into “paid hunts” to reduce populations and to offer hunters opportunities to specific species or types on animals. Wildlife started having a value, a good enough reason for any land owner to look after the wildlife on the land.
Today, there are more than 9000 private game ranches in South Africa, on 20.5 mil ha of marginal land converted to productive land; that equates to 16.8 % of our country’s land mass. Currently, South Africa has more wildlife than at any time over the past 100 years. Private landowners have roughly three times more wildlife in private ranches than in national and provincial parks.
South Africa is internationally recognised for our number of species and wildlife and for the fact that our country played a huge role in saving some species from extinction, such as the Cape Mountain Zebra and the bontebok. We are also well-known for our eco-tourism, with 80 % of all tourists visiting South Africa taking part in some form of wildlife tourism.
The above successes were possible because of the three pillars of responsible wildlife ranching in South Africa, namely:
a. The principle of free market economics, directed towards protecting South Africa’s natural resources and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations;
b. An enabling legislative environment such as the policy of sustainable utilisation as enshrined in the South African Constitution and the Game Theft Act (1991), which allowed for the private ownership of wild animals;
c. The significant investment from the private sector in wildlife ranches and game.

For sustainability, the four pillars of the wildlife industry namely breeding, hunting, wildlife related tourism and game products, are interdependent with the one pillar unable to function sustainably without the other. Responsible, ethical, sustainable utilisation of wildlife as a renewable natural resource, remains the backbone of the wildlife industry. As a management tool, it provides a financial viable alternative in rural areas considering trends in some other African countries.
With international World Wildlife Day celebrated recently on the 3rd of March, WRSA embarked upon a social media awareness campaign to remind us how far we have come as a nation. It was also a reminder not only to wildlife ranchers, but to the full value chain of the wildlife industry and citizens to build an inclusive and sustainable wildlife industry. WRSA promotes protecting our natural resources and leaving a lasting wildlife legacy for future generations.

(Wildlife Ranching South Africa: www.wrsa.co.za)

July 5-8, 2018, Vancouver, Canada

As President of the World Association of Animal Production, my most important duty is to oversee the organization of the World Congress on Animal Production. The WCAP meets every 5 years, with the goal of addressing global large-scale issues in animal science and animal agriculture. A joint proposal from the Canadian Society of Animal Science and the American Society of Animal Science was approved by the WAAP council for a meeting to be held jointly with the annual ASAS CSAS meetings in Vancouver Canada.

A committee was formed by ASAS and CSAS composed of Filippo Miglior, Deb Hamernik, Kees Plaizier, Christine Baes, Eveline Ibeagha-Awemu, and Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe. Representing the WAAP on the organizing committee are Matthias Gauly, Andrea Rosati, and James Sartin. The joint program committee has been hard at work and now has a general program and invited speakers.
ASAS and CSAS are excited to announce that in coordination with World Association of Animal Production (WAAP), we will host the next World Congress on Animal Production (WCAP) meeting in Vancouver directly ahead of the 2018 ASAS-CSAS Annual Meeting and Trade Show.

WCAP only meets every 5 years, with the goal of addressing global large-scale issues in animal science and animal agriculture. The joint program committee has been hard at work and is ready to announce the general program and invited speakers:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

  • 8:30 – Registration
  • 17:30 – Keynote Speaker, Dr. Jennie Pryce (Victoria Agriculture and La Trobe University, Australia)

Friday, July 6, 2018

  • Session I – Precision Livestock Farming to increase producers’ profitability
    • Invited speakers: Dr. Ilan Halachmi (Israel), Dr. Irenilza de Alencar Nääs (Paulista University, Brazil), Dr. Trevor Devries (University of Guelph, Canada)
  • Session II – Higher food safety to enhance consumer confidence
    • Invited Speakers: Dr. Herman Barkema (University of Calgary, Canada), Dr. Amy Pruden (Virginia Tech, United States), Dr. Uwe Rössler (Free University of Berlin, Germany)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

  • Session III – Challenges and opportunities in animal health
    • Dr. Andres Perez (University of Minnesota, United States), Dr. Janice Zanella (Embrapa Swine and Poultry, Santa Catarina, Brazil), Dr. Anne Mottet (FAO, Italy)
  • Session IV: Animal well-being challenges for today, opportunities for tomorrow
    • Dr. Don Lay (USDA ARS/Purdue University, United States), Dr. Adroaldo Zanella (University of Sao Paolo, Brazil), Dr. Marina von Keyserlingk (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

  • Session V: Genetic improvement in developing countries: mission impossible?
    • Invited speakers: Dr. Raphael Mrode (ILRI and SRUC/Scotland’s Rural College, Kenya and United Kingdom), Dr. Yachun Wang (China Agricultural University, China), Dr. Alessandra Stella (Parco Tecnologico Padano, Italy)
  • Session VI: A picture is worth a thousand words – challenges in communication between agriculture and the public
    • Dr. Gesa Busch (University of Bozen, Italy), Dr. Maria Hötzel (Brazil), Dr. Glynn Tonsor (Kansas State University, United States)

In addition to invited talks, we will choose several 15-minute oral presentations from the submitted abstracts to appear in each session and there will be daily poster presentations related to sessions. The call for abstracts and registration will be announced soon.
See the WCAP meeting web pages for more information: https://asas.org/meetings/wcap-2018/wcap-abstracts-program
The ASAS-CSAS annual meeting begins July 8 and ends July 12. For more information see: https://asas.org/meetings/annual-2018
Make plans to attend the most exciting and influential series of meetings in the animal sciences in 2018.

By Deb Hamernik, President-Elect, ASAS   In 2016, many interesting and potentially far-reaching political events have already taken place. In May, Brazil impeached its President. In June, the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU). And, the presidential campaign in the United States (US) is filled with drama and controversy that will […]

James L. Sartin and Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe
World Association of Animal Production, Rome, Italy and American Society of Animal Science, Champaign, IL USA.

As we look to the future of animal production, the outstanding challenge facing agriculture is feeding the worlds burgeoning population. The projected requirement to feed this population is for at least a 60% increase in food production, of which a substantial portion will be meat products. However, due to the publicity concerning the obesity epidemic, the general public has a difficult time envisioning a need for more food production. In addition, there are many conflicting views concerning animal agriculture. There is a vegan agenda that promotes a concept that animal based products are inherently unhealthy, cause environmental catastrophes, use too much water and are inherently cruel. Animal welfare groups provide a constant barrage of emotional pleas, that range from accusations of animal cruelty to providing propaganda to school age children. In addition, we often hear that agriculture was better in the good old days, before substantial numbers of farms became “industrial farms”. Most of these positions are easily refuted with scientific research and good communication of modern animal agricultural practices. However communication and good science may be insufficient to change public perceptions and influence public policy.

There are hurdles of another character facing animal production. Some that are not easily addressed are cultural or religious belief systems. There is an impact of animal production on land and water use, climate change, ethical concerns, decreased arid land and others, that all must be addressed in a sustainable and responsible manner. In short, the issues that face animal production also provide new scientific challenges to animal scientists. Fundamentally, how do we provide more food in an ethical, humane, and environmentally sustainable manner?

How should we respond to these challenges? Scientific societies, with the assistance of animal scientists, and farmers are the best suited to take the forefront in facing the challenges between ultimate starvation and a healthy population. But, scientific societies face their own problems that impact solutions:
• Decreased Research Funding
• Consolidation of Animal Industries
• Poor Public Perception (of science and agriculture)
• Consolidation of Academic Departments
• Decreased number of students interested in science
• Applied versus Basic Research Debate
• Lack of consumer understanding and support
• Consumer driven VS science driven government policy

All societies have taken on some portions of these issues facing themselves and animal production. This presentation will feature the responses made by the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS). The ASAS decided to convene a strategic planning group in 2008 to try to address how to move forward in the environment that was facing animal agriculture, animal science education and research. The leadership of ASAS decided to face the future with a plan to operate strategically rather than deal with day-to-day operations issues of the society. This required a fundamental change in philosophy and required a certain amount of innovation and risk during an economic downturn. In the years since 2008, seven successive presidents and Boards of Directors of ASAS have worked with the ASAS staff to implement the elements of that plan. And most importantly, the plan was considered a living plan, one that could evolve as conditions changed. The key provisions (summarized for brevity) of the plan were:
• Increase influence in public policy, work for education and research funding for animal sciences, explore new models to partner with industry, government, universities, commodity groups and scientific societies.
• Make known to the larger public, the value, knowledge and contributions of the animal sciences.
• Increase diversity and number of members by recruiting globally.
• Interest in current and future members by providing professional and leadership development opportunities, use new technologies to reach members.
• Invest in cutting edge communications technology to facilitate scientific information exchange, dissemination, and networking for ASAS members.
• Partner and cooperate with other scientific societies, government agencies, to sponsor educational forums, symposia, and activities to address issues in the animal sciences.
• ASAS, its sections and foundation work to insure the Society continues to be vital, healthy, and financially sound.

While these are broad statements befitting a strategic plan, how was this plan implemented and has it achieved it’s goals?

Public Policy. ASAS created a sabbatical program for ASAS scientists to work at United States of America (US) government agencies. This provided ASAS an opportunity to send speakers to the US Environmental Protection Agency, which was considering new legislation to manage animal waste in the US. In addition, ASAS provides a yearly visit of representatives from ASAS leadership to visit US Government agencies (such as FDA, EPA and USDA and others). ASAS developed Grand Challenges for animal science research and distributed the document to government, university and animal industries. This document is a guideline for developing future research priorities.

ASAS, in conjunction with the Canadian Association of Animal Science, the European Federation of Animal Science, and the American Meat Science Association, jointly developed and publish an open access magazine of global animal agriculture, Animal Frontiers. Moreover, ASAS hosts a Snack and Fact in Washington DC to coincide with each issue of Animal Frontiers with a goal to educate those in government about issues in global animal agriculture. This event features scientists speaking on topics associated with the latest issue of Animal Frontiers. Each attendee is provided a copy of the magazine (and the magazine is distributed to government, University and industry offices).

Communications. One of the issues animal production must begin to deal with is the misconceptions and distortions surrounding how society views animal agriculture. With that in mind and the educational basis for the society, ASAS initiated a Junior Animal Scientist program. This membership in the Jr Animal Scientist program is oriented to schoolchildren in the first 4-5 grades as either an individual membership or to classrooms. There is a magazine for each student that is published in 4 issues each year and teaches about animals and agriculture that is both fun as well as educational. In addition, the AnimalSmart website has lesson plans for teaching animal agriculture in the public school system, including using Animal Frontiers and the Journal of Animal Science in teaching.

AnimalSmart.org was launched in 2012 as a consumer website to provide information on animal production to the general public and to provide a “Kids Zone” to augment the Junior Animal Scientist program. The site provides up to date scientific information on a host of topics from antibiotic or hormone use in cattle to food safety issues, all oriented to the consumer.

There seems to be a never-ending barrage of news stories that reinforce negative perceptions of modern animal agriculture. One approach to the problem was the development of a system to provide positive inputs to the media about animal agriculture. Journal of Animal Science Interpretive Summaries (provided for industry and others) are prepared and placed on the ASAS website. These interpretive summaries are released to media outlets through Eureka Alerts. In addition to agriculture media, this system places animal science research into the ‘public eye’ in non-agriculture public media. More directly, the ASAS Board of Directors authorized a rapid Board response to developing news events. Examples of Board responses were the Chipotle Superbowl advertisement that attacked family farms, a response to a Peta film indicating shearing was an inhumane process, most recently a response concerning the stories that the WHO had placed processed meat on the carcinogen list, as well as others.

The Society also embraced social media to attract and communicate with students. Information and connections are provided through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for our members and interested persons.

International Programs. ASAS and a number of sister societies have realized that we all face the same issues, whether it be climate change, trade regulations or changing perceptions about animal agriculture. The future development of the animal sciences as well as success at feeding the world demands that we all work together. To that end, there are a number of interactions between Animal Science Societies. For example, EAAP and ASAS have long standing speaker exchanges that have served as a catalyst to enhance global research and education in animal agriculture. Both organizations have engaged in developing that model with our sister societies worldwide to enhance interactions at scientific meetings. It’s potential to improve all of our efforts at feeding the world cannot be over emphasized.

Individual Scientists. Scientific societies cannot work alone. There is a need for individual scientists to become more engaged in education at all ages. For example, individual scientists can go into school systems and talk to classes about animal production, the importance of water resources, about animal disease or physiology or nutrition. Scientists can help educate the public by writing blogs and newspaper articles. Animal scientists should not wait for the news to develop, but should provide the positive news about animal science. In addition, as educators we should work to develop “our story”. The only way to educate the public is to discuss the science, it’s impacts and needs in our day-to-day interactions. Consider turning your work into a simple anecdote. People are more likely to remember a story than a list of facts. Above all else, speak passionately. At its core, the goal of animal science and animal agriculture is to provide safe, efficient, nutrient source to feed the world. If we tell our story and speak passionately on a daily basis, our message will begin to take hold. These are only examples, but think about your personal skills and see where you can make a difference.

It is time to move beyond talking about problems facing animal agriculture and engage in solving the issues before us. There are solutions to the challenges facing global animal agriculture. As animal scientists, acting individually and through our respective scientific societies, we can make a difference in feeding the world.

Matthew Salois, PhD, Economic Research & Policy Advisor – Elanco Animal Health – A Division of Eli Lilly and Company   Consumers have a right to know where their food comes from and how it was produced, especially when it comes to antibiotic use in animals. Antibiotic resistance is a public concern and is a consequence of […]

Christian E. Newcomer, VMD
Executive Director, AAALAC International

Every year at the Joint Annual Meeting attendees from the U.S. and abroad become immersed in the scientific advances and achievements that are shaping modern animal agriculture. The scholarly offerings of our dairy and animal scientists and their students are prolific, impressive and diverse, featuring findings that will improve animal production, enhance the nutritional content and quality of the world’s diet and refine the systems of management and care for the animals under our stewardship to promote their comfort, health and welfare during all life stages. Most of these findings are dependent upon data derived from agricultural research animal subjects, and the research areas of study encompass a broad range of topics including environmental and ecological impacts, animal nutrition, microbial factors in health and disease, animal ethology and agricultural economics, to name a few. As insiders, the agricultural community readily appreciates the importance and essential nature of this highly productive scientific inquiry to deliver and expand the global food supply at a reasonable cost. In contrast, the general consumer is perfectly comfortable receiving its safe, nutritious, low-cost, high-quality food, while remaining extremely vague on facts related to production, and totally oblivious to the vast amount of research that underpins the success of modern animal agriculture.

Although we should not be surprised that the general public is detached from and poorly informed about the science and practices of modern food production, we should not assume that their interest cannot be acutely piqued by sensational findings or highly visible events. One such example was the article published in the 19 January 2015 New York Times entitled, “U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit,” by Michael Moss. Although the details of this article are beyond the scope of this comment, it stimulated a robust and rapid response from readers, prompted an external review of some U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service programs, policies and practices, and ultimately led to the introduction of a misguided bill (H.R. 746) into the 114th Congress.  The key findings of the external review indicated that improved personnel training and documentation was needed; expansion of the medical records to include all research animal subjects was required to assure adequate care; and, aspects of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) composition, training, protocol review and programmatic review required more attention to assure adequate research oversight for the protection of animal subjects during all phases of care and use. The successful resolution of problems such as these has both technical dimensions and ethical dimensions; the latter are embodied in the IACUC’s oversight activities and must animate the decisions and actions of every individual involved in the program. Ethics should lead the way in scientific advancement that is dependent upon the use of research animals.

Recent data shared publicly in 2014 (see http://www.aaalac.org/education/2014_Conference.cfm) by AAALAC International, a private, non-profit corporation that has provided a confidential assessment and accreditation program for research animal care and use for 50 years, indicated that problems within the IACUC constituted the second-highest category of findings for which correction was mandated as a condition of accreditation in programs visited between 2011-2013. However, only four percent of accredited programs registered problems in this area, indicating that most programs have IACUCs that are adequately engaged in all aspects of oversight as defined in the guidelines applicable for their program. In the case of agricultural research animal programs, the relevant guidelines are the FASS Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching, 3rd Edition (Ag Guide), which AAALAC uses as one of its three primary standards in its international accreditation program.  The role and responsibilities of the IACUC place it at the convergence of oversight, ethics, animal welfare and science.  As the first defense of agricultural animal research, programs that are not conforming to the Ag Guide would be wise to do so urgently—institutions can no longer rest on their laurels expecting to survive with a simple “trust us” attitude. Moreover, AAALAC’s experience has shown that established IACUCs benefit greatly from regular critical introspective analysis of their oversight functions to assure that their judgments and processes are thorough, fair and effectual—but AAALAC also recognizes that doing it well does not imply doing it exhaustively or impeding science with an intrusive bureaucracy.

Occupational health and safety, institutional policies, physical plant, animal management/environment and veterinary care are the other broad areas containing the majority of significant findings that must be corrected for programs to achieve AAALAC International accreditation.  AAALAC’s approach to accreditation is collegial, rigorous, and based upon the application of performance standards—rather than engineering standards or prescriptive solutions. Institutions with sufficient expertise, appropriate teamwork, buy-in and a unified cause usually have no problem figuring out the solution(s) best fitting their programs. For example, in the area of personnel education in animal care and use an organization might ask, do we know and use the best procedures? Do we have an effective training process and trainers? Do we test and verify the proficiency of trainees?  And finally, can we assure that trained personnel will be consistently proficient and not deviate into unacceptable practices?  There is considerable latitude in the route and methods an institution can choose to achieve a successful training outcome that is well-defined and promotes animal comfort, health and welfare.  (And we can all agree that a porous training strategy that results in instances of animal harm is both unethical and has adverse consequences for science.)  In the five decades AAALAC has operated its accreditation program, hundreds of research programs around the world have experienced the value, efficiency and effectiveness of this type of flexible, performance standards, peer-reviewed approach to maintaining program excellence.

As AAALAC International celebrates its 50th Anniversary, we proudly note that our voluntary, expert peer review process has advanced research animal welfare and improved the conditions for scientific inquiry.  We also hope the number of AAALAC accredited programs in the research animal agricultural community will continue to grow in the coming years. However, regardless of the method chosen to assure program quality and benchmark against contemporary standards and practices, we should all join together in educating the public about our research endeavors and assure them that our programs of support for agricultural animal research are comprehensive, thoughtful, effective and caring.  This will not only assuage the public’s concerns, but will also help build support for the research mission and vision for the future that fuels our collective dedication.

Eimei Sato, President, National Livestock Breeding Center, Incorporated Administrative Agency, Fukushima, Japan   Livestock Industry in Japan and the Influence of Climate and Buddhism Livestock production operates under the influence of specific local circumstances, especially natural circumstances such as climate. Based on his personal travel experiences in Europe, the Japanese philosopher Tetsuro Watsuji in his […]

Philippe Chemineau, President EAAP 2012-2016

Associated with a continuous decrease in the number of hungry people, studies looking at future trends predict an increase of world population over the next 30 years. This is associated with an increase of their buying power, essentially in emerging countries such as China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and to a lesser extent Africa. This combination will provoke a dramatic increase in animal product consumption (meat, milk and fish) in these emerging countries. At the same time, industrial countries will probably reduce their meat consumption per capita for a variety of reasons, which, coincident with stagnation of their population growth, will lead to decreased meat consumption in these countries.

Simultaneously, the demand for animal products with high nutritional, organoleptic and « ethic » qualities will increase all over the world. This « ethic » quality is a new concept coming from old Europe and is related to livestock production in specific areas where the conditions of production, i.e. use of local feeds of known origin, respect of animal welfare, reduced use of antibiotics, reduced environmental footprint, etc., are considered to be a significant part of product quality, which adds, rather than substitutes, to their organoleptic and nutritional values. This concept has emerged in Europe where the environmental footprint of livestock farming systems is now obvious, at either a global (essentially via Green House Gases (GHG) emissions), a regional (Ammonia in the air), or at a local scale (Nitrates in water and manure odours).  The value of the environment has also increased as it is perceived as a source of positive values, for example, remembering the good old times when parents lived in the countryside, and because it provides recreational and aesthetic benefits to urban or rural citizens. In this context, citizens are increasingly aware of the negative impacts of livestock farming systems such as water pollution, decrease of biodiversity, or degradation of air quality.

In recent years, the perspectives of climate change have become more pronounced and the expected local consequences of these changes in zones of high human density could be extremely severe. This can be assessed from the observed or expected increase in the frequency of abnormal local climatic events, increase in green algae proliferation at seashore, and biodiversity losses in many anthropized ecosystems. These consequences that anyone can observe around ones home location reinforce the impression of an impact of animal production systems on climate change.

Finally, in industrialized countries, green lobbies play a role in criticizing livestock production systems, asking consideration of farm animals as « animal beings » and denouncing (in some cases with good reasons) welfare conditions on farms and slaughtering conditions. These criticisms are reinforced by the distance between citizens and animals, since more than half of the worldwide population now lives in cities, in which livestock species are replaced by pets, at least in industrialized countries.

These global and local challenges can be, and should be, tackled at both global and local levels. I will develop the example of GHG emissions, but the same rationale could be used for other externalities.

In 2012, livestock produced about 16% of global GHG emissions, among which 10% are from enteric CH4, essentially from bovine, and 6% from manure. Livestock represented about 2% of the world’s GDP (75×1012 US $). In 2050, if all other sectors reduce their emissions by 70%, especially energy and transportation (which may be easier to accomplish), then the livestock sector would be responsible for 40% of global GHG emissions. This would represent a tremendous ecological and socioeconomic pressure for a sector accounting for less than 2% of the world’s economy.

Emissions should be reduced per unit of animal product (kg of meat and litre of milk), but also per country or production systems, if we agree that each country/production system should do the same effort as any other. This forces livestock farming systems to explore solutions for decreasing GHG emissions at different levels of the system: (1) at the territorial level by exploring complementarities between sub-territories, (2) at the farm level by exploring new systems of production which optimize positive outputs and mitigate negative impacts using a multicriteria approach, (3) at the individual level by exploring new feeding and management practices and selecting animals for a better feeding efficiency. These three levels must be explored in a systemic and holistic approach. A multidisciplinary approach is also required to propose science-based (top-down) and farmer-based (bottom-up) innovations.

Science is absolutely essential to tackle these different challenges and would be more efficient if developed simultaneously all over the world, since some questions are similar from Europe to New Zealand, from Africa to America and from Asia to Australia.

For example, organizing an efficient system of manure management at the regional level would allow better manure use by reducing the nitrogen impact on small areas with high densities of livestock, and fertilizing crops rather than using mineral fertilizers bought off-farm. This requires an important scientific and technical investment in terms of properly managing manure in order to impair nitrogen losses and make better use of its fertilizing properties. Organizing a whole system of manure management from the producer to the user also has socio-economic and sociologic implications.

At the farm level, research programs are clearly needed for feeding animals in optimal systems that will simultaneously reduce CH4 emissions by the rumen and N2O emissions from the manure, while utilizing feed resources that are not in competition with human food consumption. It will require a better scientific and technical knowledge of the value and availability of all sub-products, and of adequate processes to treat them for animal feeding.

At the animal level, the continuous improvement of the genetic capacities must be pursued, but with a different balance of traits and/or breeding goals; those related to environmental footprint, such as selection for reducing enteric CH4 emission or female longevity should have an increasing weight in selection indexes combining various traits. Hopefully, genomic selection will allow professionals to achieve this goal more easily.

Developing sustainable systems is possible in terms of economy. All farmers and associated partners make a living derived from and dependent upon a healthy environment. Thus the needs to reduce the local and global impacts of livestock farming systems are inherently valuable to those groups. In terms of society, the livestock chain must provide attractive and stable jobs, which in turn depend upon thriving livestock farming systems.

The proposition of René Dubos in 1972 at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment « Think globally, act locally », may be changed into « Think globally, act systemically » for putting the livestock sector in a better position to cope with the coming challenges. This change illustrates the need for an involvement of science and innovation at different levels of the agro-ecosystem to efficiently reduce the environmental footprint of the livestock sector. This also illustrates the need for an international network of animal scientists and industrial partners joining their efforts for solving these global and local challenges.