Climate change and animal science – outcome of a panel discussion between animal scientists

Author: M.M. Scholtz, F. Aghdasi & L. Zhou
Year: 2013
Issue: 1
Volume: 6
Page: 1 - 3

This article reports on the outcomes of a panel discussion on climate change during the 45th Congress of the South African Society for Animal Science. The impact of global warming and continued uncontrolled release of greenhouse gasses has two-fold implications for the livestock industry, since climate change represents a feedback-loop within which livestock production both contributes to the problem and suffers from the consequences. The challenges for animal scientists and the livestock industries are discussed and aspects that should be taken note of listed. Although the net effect from livestock is only a 5% contribution to greenhouse gasses, the livestock industries should be aware of the effect of livestock on climate change and therefore it is important that mechanisms are put in place to mitigate this effect. Animal scientists can support the livestock industries in developing new and adapted technologies to attain this goal.The improvement of production efficiency through increased production will reduce the carbon footprint of livestock. Animal scientists should also support decision-making through bridging the interface between livestock production and policy. Livestock production can be severely affected by climate change. Incidence of diseases, water shortage and poor graze conditions are some of the challenges facing the livestock sectors as a result of climate change. Both adaption and mitigation strategies should be put in place so as to reduce the impact of climate change on livestock production. Mitigation strategies are however difficult to put in place due to the fact that they involve efforts of all nations whose objectives and economic background vary significantly.

Keywords: production efficiency
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