It’s time to zero in on the gender gap in livestock data

On International Women’s Day we call for gender equality in livestock data, and outline key actions to close the gap

By Vanessa Meadu and Isla MacVicar, SEBI

Livestock farming offer a ‘pathway out of poverty’ for hundreds of millions of people in low and middle-income countries, but the lack of data about this sector is preventing governments and funders from making evidence-based policies and investments, explained Bill Gates at an event in Edinburgh in 2018. This livestock data gap is slowly narrowing, thanks in part to initiatives supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), but an enormous chasm still exists for data around women in livestock. This missing data around women in livestock is hindering essential progress.

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Stand out from the herd: get to know the data behind your livestock facts

It pays to know the age, accuracy and scope of your livestock facts say the authors of a new publication that explores the data behind popular livestock figures

by Vanessa Meadu and Gareth Salmon

The role of livestock in supporting human well-being is increasingly contentious. News outlets carry divisive messages about the environmental, economic and social aspects of livestock and animal-based products. Critics and advocates toss around ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ to make their claims, but these facts are often divorced from their data sources and may be intended for a different purpose. In a new paper investigating the origins of popular livestock facts, the authors call upon advocates and researchers to recognise the context, accuracy and age of the evidence they use in discussions the future of livestock.

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Video: Can we feed the planet, and stay within planetary boundaries? With Professor Mario Herrero

In this seminar, Professor Mario Herrero addresses the key messages of the EAT Lancet Report, including the role of livestock in sustainable and healthy diets. 

Earlier this year, the EAT–Lancet Commission released a report addressing how to feed a growing global population a healthy diet while also defining sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our planet.  

Professor Mario Herrero, a contributor to the EAT-Lancet report and SEBI collaborator, gave a seminar on the realities of navigating these issues, including the role of livestock in sustainable and healthy diets. 

WATCH NOW: 

Click to watch Prof Mario HErrero discuss the Eat-Lancet Planetary Boundaries Diet.
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A streamlined tool for rural household surveys – Q&A with Jim Hammond on RHoMIS – the Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey

Interviewed by Vanessa Meadu

There are great opportunities to improve the process of gathering information from farming households, particularly in Low and Middle-Income countries where development projects depend on solid data for their success, and existing data resources are scarce.

Enter RHoMIS – the Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey, which aims to reduce the costs, time requirements and reporting burdens for those who carry out household surveys. The development team have built and used a bank of survey questions based on internationally recognised indicators, covering all aspects of farming systems, including livestock. The database contains a wealth of information that may unlock important solutions to livestock challenges.

We spoke with Jim Hammond, a scientist based at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), who co-leads the RHoMIS team, about how RHoMIS could help close livestock data gaps and uncover new insights.

Vanessa Meadu: How can RHoMIS help improve the reliability of data on livestock and rural livelihoods in Low and Middle-Income Countries?

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New study uncovers source of mystery neurological disease devastating Tanzanian sheep and goats

by Vanessa Meadu, SEBI

Pastoralist livestock keepers in Tanzania knew for some time that their sheep and goats were succumbing in large numbers to a neurological disease known locally as ormilo, but until recently this threat had gone largely unnoticed by the scientific community and the veterinary services. Now, researchers, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (IBAHCM) and the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), have identified the culprit as the dog tapeworm Taenia multiceps, opening the door for potential solutions.

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Agriculture and climate change: Scientists and stakeholders break down walls in Berlin

by Gareth Salmon

I recently returned from Berlin, where I attended the first International Conference on Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security (#AgriGHG) The agricultural sector contributes significantly to human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. Responding to this, the conference brought together scientists and stakeholders (policy makers and advisors, farmers’ organisations and the food industry) to discuss the challenges and opportunities for emissions mitigation within the sector. Read more

Livestock disease diagnosis tools for Sub-Saharan Africa: a guide to what’s out there

SEBI researcher Theodora Tsouloufi has been looking into disease diagnosis tools for animal health: what tools are currently available, what are their main offerings, and how these have been put into practice?

One of the ways the Supporting Evidence Based Interventions (SEBI) programme works to deliver ‘better livestock data for better smallholder lives’ is by evaluating already-existent and new technologies. The goal is to gain a better understanding of what tools and technologies work best to improve livestock health and productivity, and under what conditions. Read more