Participants of the panel discussion (from left to right): Neil Fraser, Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Thomas Sommerhalter and Horst-Jürgen Schwartz.
Photo: © Tierärzte ohne Grenzen e.V.


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Mounting pressure on natural resources is also worsening the situation of pastoralists. Given the world-wide demand for meat, they should really have good income prospects. But they lack a lobby.

Pastoralists usually fall by the wayside in the discussion on food security. And yet they are the ones who are particularly threatened by hunger and poverty. The organisation Vétérinaires sans Frontières discussed the reasons for this and the perspectives there were for people with the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development and the Seminar for Rural Development at Humboldt University Berlin in a panel discussion in late January 2014. 

On around a quarter of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, especially in arid and semi-arid areas, transhumance is practised with about one billion animals. Estimates of the number of people involved vary considerably. There are said to be between 30 million and 400 million pastoralists world-wide. According to Cornelia Heine of Vétérinaires sans Frontières, pastoralism is in fact a system that is well-adapted to individual environmental conditions. However, changes over the last few decades have resulted in adaptive mechanisms ceasing to work.

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