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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
5-Mar-2014

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Contact: Joanne Fryer
joanne.fryer@bristol.ac.uk
44-011-733-17276
University of Bristol

Livestock can produce food that is better for the people and the planet

With one in seven humans undernourished, and with the challenges of population growth and climate change, the need for efficient food production has never been greater. Eight strategies to cut the environmental and economic costs of keeping livestock, such as cows, goats and sheep, while boosting the quantity and quality of the food produced have been outlined by an international team of scientists.

The strategies to make ruminant - cud-chewing - livestock a more sustainable part of the food supply, led by academics at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences, are outlined in a Comment piece in Nature this week.

The eight strategies include:

Professor Mark Eisler, Chair in Global Farm Animal Health in the School of Veterinary Sciences and Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol, said: "The quest for 'intensification' in livestock farming has thundered ahead with little regard for sustainability and overall efficiency, the net amount of food produced in relation to inputs such as land and water.

"With animal protein set to remain part of the food supply, we must pursue sustainable intensification and figure out how to keep livestock in ways that work best for individuals, communities and the planet."

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Paper: Steps to sustainable livestock: With improved breeding and cultivation, animals can yield food that is better for people and the planet. Mark C. Eisler, Michael R. F. Lee, John F. Tarlton and Graeme B. Martin.

With John Beddington, Jennifer A. J. Dungait, Henry Greathead, Jianxin Liu, Stephen Mathew, Helen Miller, Tom Misselbrook, Phil Murray, Valil K. Vinod, Robert Van Saun and Michael Winter, Nature, Vol 507, 6 March 2014.



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