Cattle cause global warming

Well that’s a bit strong perhaps. What this article, based on an FAO report, does point out, however, is that the burgeoning global livestock sector produces 18% of global carbon dioxide emissions – which is more than transport. It is also having other serious environmental impacts. What to do? The report makes suggestions in the focus areas of reversing land degradation, increasing the efficiency of livestock production, and better water use. Genetic resources could of course contribute to all these.

Ice cream: one hump or two?

Food manufacturers in Rajasthan, India, have created an ice cream made of camels’ milk. At a recent tasting, an Italian, no less, apparently described it as “an absolutely delicious desert treat”. Tommaso Sbriccoli, said it “compared favourably with the gelato-frozen desert in his home country” according to Daily India.

The serious point to all this is that there has actually been remarkably little selection for milk production in camels. That means an enormous diversity in how much herders can get from a female. I remember visiting a researcher in a desert country who was trying to improve matters, because a small decrease in the variation in milk production would make an enormous difference to the amount of milk poor nomads could get from their beasts. That idea crops up again from time to time but I’ve no idea whether any great progress has been made. Do you know?

Animal crackers

Us plant people went through this over ten years ago, but the animal genetic resources crowd are gearing up for their First International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources, which will be held in Interlaken (Switzerland) in September 2007. FAO is behind it, as it was with plants. As part of the preparations, a workshop was just held, entitled The Future of Animal Genetic Resources: Under Corporate Control or in the Hands of Farmers and Pastoralists? Lots of papers in pdf here.