LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION: PROSPECTS OVER THE NEXT DECADES AND ALTERNATIVE PROTEIN BIO-RESOURCES
Published in AgroLife Scientific Journal, Vol 1, Issue 1
Written by André THÉWIS, Anca-Maria GALIȘ
Livestock production is an important source of protein and other nutrients for human diet. It also contributes in a large measure to public health, social equity and economic growth. The development of this sector in the next decades will be driven by a foreseen increase in the demand for food products of animal origin, especially in the developing countries. This important demand will be satisfied through an increase in animal populations and an improvement in animal performances at the world scale. At that point, attention should be drawn to the sustainability of this development, since it appears that this sector has a major impact on the environment. The sustainability of livestock production systems can be achieved through intense research in: genetics and breeding (more efficient and robust animals, with a higher number of offspring and a lower variation among them, in a given population), nutrition (new feed sources, pastures’ improvement and a special focus on efficiency), societal demand (ensuring a decent income while improving the animal welfare), diseases (development of surveillance, diagnostics and detection systems). Already included in research activities, some alternatives to livestock production are actively studied: the development of in vitro meat production systems, the entomophagy (still regarded with skepticism in the Western countries) and micro-algae use. Even considering the intense research to expand these alternatives and the interesting results obtained until now, the biggest obstacle to overcome is represented by consumers’ acceptance.