Definition of animal breeding goals for sustainable production systems

I. Olesen, A.F. Groen, B. Gjerde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

What we do is determined by the way we "view" a complex issue and what sample of issues or events we choose to deal with. In this paper, a model based on a communal, cultural, or people-centered worldview, informed by a subjective epistemology and a holistic ontology, is considered. Definitions and interpretations of sustainable agriculture are reviewed. Common elements in published definitions of sustainable agriculture and animal production among those who seek long-term and equitable solutions for food production are resource efficiency, profitability, productivity, environmental soundness, biodiversity, social viability, and ethical aspects. Possible characteristics of future sustainable production systems and further development are presented. The impact of these characteristics on animal breeding goals is reviewed. The need for long-term biologically, ecologically, and sociologically sound breeding goals is emphasized, because animal breeding determined only by short-term market forces leads to unwanted side effects. Hence, a procedure for defining animal breeding goals with ethical priorities and weighing of market and non-market values is suggested. Implementation of non-market as well as market economic trait values in the aggregate genotype, as suggested, may allow for breeding programs that contribute to sustainable production systems. Examples of breeding goals in salmon, cattle, and pigs are given, and the resulting genetic responses are evaluated with respect to economic profit (or costs) and other criteria of sustainability. Important prerequisites for breeding programs for sustainable production are appropriate governmental policies, awareness of our way of thinking, and a more communal worldview informed by a subjective epistemology and a holistic ontology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-582
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume78
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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