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Small ruminants
Global challenges for sustainable food production

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SMALL ruminants are important globally in industrialised agriculture and subsistence farming systems. Small ruminant production is inherently inefficient, typically resulting in dependence upon subsidy support to protect economic returns, or failure to alleviate poverty in resource-deprived lower and middle income countries. Improving the efficiency of small ruminant production integrated with whole agricultural systems is vital to tackling global challenges of food and environmental security arising from population growth and climate change.

An recent editorial in Veterinary Record described the immediate efficiency savings to be made through improvements in basic animal husbandry and health management (McNeilly 2017). The editorial was accompanied by an image of transhumance sheep farming in southern India, in which sheep were …

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