Local breeds, livelihoods and livestock keepers’ rights in South Asia

  • Ilse Köhler-RollefsonEmail author
  • H. S. Rathore
  • E. Mathias
Original Paper


In South Asia, and throughout the developing world, the predominant official approach to livestock development has been improvement of production by means of upgrading local breeds via cross-breeding with exotic animals. This strategy has led to the replacement and dilution of locally adapted breeds with non-native ones. This has resulted in an alarming loss that has been estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to amount to one breed every two weeks. Based on selected case studies this paper argues that development strategies using locally adapted breeds and species are much more likely to benefit livestock keepers whilst also maintaining domestic animal diversity and bearing a smaller ecological footprint. It also analyses the rationale for “Livestock Keepers’ Rights”, a principle that grew out of the struggle of traditional livestock keepers to retain control over their production resources, such as grazing areas and breeding stock, in the face of unfavourable policy environments.


Animal genetic resources Interlaken Declaration The Global Plan of Action on Animal Genetic Resources Indigenous livestock Value addition 



We are grateful to colleagues in the LIFE-Network who developed the concept of Livestock Keepers’ Rights in a series of national and international meetings. We also thank the donors - among others Misereor, the HIVOS Oxfam-Novib Biodiversity Fund, Swedbio and the Christensen Fund - who supported the preparation and organization of the meetings as well as the participation of livestock keepers and their representatives in the ‘Interlaken Process’.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilse Köhler-Rollefson
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. S. Rathore
    • 2
  • E. Mathias
    • 3
  1. 1.League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock DevelopmentOber-RamstadtGermany
  2. 2.Lokhit Pashu-Palak SansthanSadriIndia
  3. 3.League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock DevelopmentKürtenGermany

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