Policy brief - Social perception of small ruminant farming systems

Policy Brief

SheepNet was initiated in November 2016, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

SheepNet is about practice-driven innovation to improve the productivity of meat sheep  and milk sheep, to improve flock productivity, which will in turn improve farmers’ income and, therefore, the sustainability and attractiveness of sheep production.

The social perception of pasture based farming needs to be improved in order to tackle the lack of generational turnover in livestock. We recommend:

  • To research on the role that animal food products can play within a healthy and sustainable diet.
  • To enhance knowledge of the environmental impact of livestock farming, and to promote regenerative rotational grazing, and mixed farming systems (agriculture-livestock/silvopastoralism).
  • To promote specific training for shepherd to foster sheep farming on grass based systems
  • To disseminate to society the crucial importance and real role that small ruminants play in the generation of ecosystem services.
  •  More utilisation of natural fibres, such as wool as alternatives to plastic based and synthetic fibres.
  • To develop policies based on the payment for the achievement of commitments related to the generation of ecosystem services.
  • To widen the utilisation of the existing technologies to inform consumers about the identity of food producers, production methods, etc.
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