Food Security
and Livestock

The issue of world food security must be balanced with global need for energy security, improving the livelihoods of human populations, (especially those dependent on agriculture) and ecological intensification and sustainable use of natural resources.

The literature on food security identifies three fundamental dimensions historically, which are applicable to products of animal origin: availability of food, access to food, and effective and safe utilisation of food. A fourth dimension of sustainability and adaptability is now increasingly recognised.

  1. Availability of food, for a given country, reflects both production by suppliers of food commodities and also the balance of international trade. The contribution made by livestock in mixed farming systems by fertilising arable land and providing draught power remains an essential source of gains in crop yield and is generally underestimated.
  2. Access addresses the physical and financial capacity of households to provide food for themselves. The first component concerns the effect of distance from the consumer to the market or to producers and the stability of temporal supply cycles including the processing of perishable food and second pricing factors.
  3. Utilisation of food relates to the quantities ingested, the overall quality (nutritional, sanitary, etc.) of the products (intake of proteins, micronutrients or energy), socio-cultural preferences (religious customs, etc.) and food consumption patterns. This includes both malnutrition and overconsumption but also specific micronutrient balance.
  4. Sustainability and adaptability of the food system refers to the capacity for sustainably maintaining agricultural production (including animal production), national and international trade, storage and supply at the national level and food consumption that will meet the demand in the long term, even in the context of new constraints. It involves holistic perspectives which consider social, economic, technical, political and environmental factors including water, land, biodiversity as well as greenhouse gases within a combined land use context.
InSHAW aims to build partnerships and create opportunities involving:
Collaborative research on sustainable livestock health and welfare
The development of inclusive educational sustainability programmes for your organisation
Influencing opinion and policy development locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
To find out more and discuss opportunities to collaborate with the InSHAW network or to participate in future events please contact InSHAW by telephone on +44 (0)1782 731846 or email