Animal Breeding Objectives: Balancing Productivity and Ecological Impact

J.A.M. van Arendonk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademic


The livestock industry is faced with the challenge to meet the growing demand for animal product while at the same time reducing the environmental impact. This requires an improvement of the efficiency of production, robustness of animals and quality of animal products. This paper concentrates on the definition of the breeding objective and how environmental constraints should be incorporated. The discussion on how to best incorporate teh environmental impact has many similarities with the discussion at the end of the last century on the perspective to be taken in calculating economic values. A summary is presented of that discussion and the unifying concepts that resulted from it. Subsequently, these concepts are extended to include environmental constraints in deriving weight of traits in the breeding objective. The principles are illustrated with a numerical example on dairy cattle in the Netherlands and a constraint on methane emission. It is concluded that methane emission expressed per kg of product and not per animal should be used to evaluate the consequences of animal breeding on methane emission.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceeding of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event19th AAABG conference, Perth, Western Australia -
Duration: 19 Jul 201121 Jul 2011


Conference19th AAABG conference, Perth, Western Australia

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