Livestock Futures – reading a mindmap to develop insight into relationships

Please download this PDF for the map. The description of a complex mix of issues surrounding industrial animal agriculture is here presented visually in a mind map – a methodology and a toolset for visualizing a system through a core idea and the main themes that branch from it, as well and the inter-relationships and layers of context under main themes. These can be developed individually or in a group process, and can serve to develop dialogue while offering the option to ‘navigate’ to different sub-themes as those sharing the map determine where to focus. Visual cues as to the hierarchy of ideas can be conveyed with the shapes and colors in the map, and solid or dashed lines can suggest levels of relationship. More subtle and complex dynamic tools, such as KUMU allow for the mapping of causal relationships and can be designed to jump to other maps related to the node picked to follow down a particular path and reflect other hierarchies and dependencies in a system. Here is the written narrative following ‘round the dial’ presented in clockwise sequence: Not all animal sourced foods are created equal…
  • In terms of nutritional value,
  • Or in the efficiency with which they convert feed into food for humans
  • Or in in terms of impacts on the environment…
  • Livestock production systems provide ecosystem services (and dis-services) depending on the scale and their technical configuration
Animal sourced foods are being consumed at uneven levels…
  • either regionally, or
  • Within countries
  • Or at local levels;
Strong cultural and historic associations with particular animal species persisting in different contexts. Different scales of animal production also co-exist
  • And have complex social, economic and environmental functions
  • And these scales are shifting, with a trend to larger and more concentrated operations…
  • these transformations bring multiple impacts…
Important ramifications overlapping in the other ‘hot topic’ papers… in italics Diets and human health
  • Preferences on protein translating into environmental impacts
  • Industrial production processes creating vulnerabilities in animal diseases (loss of immunological firebreaks) as well as antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Dislocation of small-scale animal keepers into marginal areas, forest edges – links to zoonotic disease transmission with wild animal trade
Food waste
  • Generation and re-use of organic matter for animal consumption
Nature-based solutions
  • Crop-livestock integration on farm to reduce nutrient concentrations or deficiencies borne of the separation of animal and cropping systems
  • Sourcing animal foods from grazing non-arable lands, or alternative feed proteins (insects, etc.)
  • Utilizing animals for restoration of degraded landscapes
Just transitions
  • Social dislocation and economic outcomes borne of rapid industrialization of animal agriculture