In recent years, debates about the relationship between livestock and climate change have become dominated by concerns over the carbon and methane emissions of the cattle industry. These concerns are of course valid and need to be part of climate change discussions. But they do not tell the whole story.
In the Global South, a much more nuanced approach to livestock is needed. Here, livestock are the main source of food and income for 600 million people, and are an essential component of national and regional food systems. For millions of small-scale farmers, livestock are at the heart of their lives, livelihoods and cultures. Even though these farmers are under increasing pressures due to climate change, abandoning livestock is simply not an option for them or the countries in which they live.