Livestock: How do you know the animals are not mistreated?
Concern Worldwide works in varied environments and many of these can maintain the needs of animals in a sustainable manner, especially in lush tropical zones with plenty of rainfall and vegetation. However, we acknowledge that inappropriate provision of livestock in fragile environments is problematic and can do substantial harm.
Concern does not run programmes which focus solely on livestock or livestock inputs. Our livelihoods programmes are designed around the individual needs and options of the poor in a particular place. These are closely linked to the possibilities for food production of the particular agro-ecological zone involved. Our livelihoods programmes try to help the poor to produce more but also, very importantly, to diversify their strategies and livelihood activities to reduce risk and improve access to food and good nutrition. Livestock projects comprise one component of such livelihoods programmes.
Livestock distributions and projects are not the solution to helping communities to escape from poverty but they represent a single option among many which help extremely poor people to survive and not fall further into poverty and hunger.
Furthermore, when seen as a part of a broader strategy of working with the poor, livestock distributions can help people to slowly grow an asset base which provides them with the foundations on which to take more risks and try different livelihood strategies to get them out of poverty. Livestock can and do, in certain situations, provide milk, dairy produce and manure which benefit families in terms of basic nutrition and sometimes in generating a small amount of extra income.
Finally, Concern does not provide livestock without also setting in place support for animal husbandry, local veterinary services and other necessary foundations for the success of such projects. Without these important aspects, livestock distributions cannot be sustainable.