Livestock-keeping and Animal Husbandry in Refugee and Returnee Situations: A Practical Handbook for Improved Management

Livestock are commonly kept in many refugee situations and, in many instances, form an important part of community activities. They are also a fundamental requirement in many returnee situations given the broad range of products which they can provide.

In addition to the selected products high-lighted below, additional reasons for enhancing livestock-keeping practices in refugee and returnee operations include:

  • limiting the negative impacts of certain animal species on the environment;

  • reducing conflicts with local communities over resource use;

  • developing livelihood security options for refugees and returnees;

  • encouraging trade based on livestock-keeping;

  • preventing outbreaks and the spread of dis-eases to other herds as well as to people; and

  • ensuring that livestock products are safe for human consumption.

In both refugee and returnee situations, however, the circumstances governing livestock keeping may vary considerably - from being actively prohibited, to being tolerated or actually openly accepted in some formal sense.

Wherever livestock are kept, however, one can reliably expect these to have some impact on the environmental, social and economic situations of refugees and returnee communities.

Although livestock-keeping has such a potentially important role to play in refugee-related situations through enhancing human welfare and providing livelihood security, in most instances livestock keeping is largely unregulated. In consequence, complaints are commonly aired by local people, especially with relation to competition for natural resources (grazing land and water in particular), as well as health and disease associated with livestock.

Large animal herds are also often an attraction for bandits, whose presence in a refugee or returnee operation can destabilise events.