The French livestock model
France is well represented in international bodies and highlights the specificity of its herbivore breeding. Hence the ambition of the Confédération Nationale de l'Elevage to describe the French model of herbivore breeding, to demonstrate how livestock contributes to meeting the FAO's Sustainable Development Goals.
French grass-fed livestock farming is family-based (83% of the workforce) and linked to the soil (1 ha per cow, mixed farming), supported by a network of R&D organizations and advisors (70% of professional livestock farmers receive technical advice). It provides a diversified range of animal products of high nutritional and sanitary quality (50 PDO, 35 red labels). As a major player in the economic vitality of rural areas (260,000 direct jobs), grassland farming also contributes to a high quality environment (water filtration by grasslands, biodiversity, carbon storage, etc.).
It is making progress in crucial sectors: health (-25% of antibiotics in cattle between 2011 and 2016), water quality (-16% of nitrates since 1997) and climate (6,000 farms in low-carbon approaches). Not to mention the many other services provided by livestock to society: production and valorization of co-products, maintenance of landscapes and heritage, etc.
Credits: Delphine Neumeister (Institut de l'Elevage), Eva Groshens (Institut de l'Elevage), Anne-Charlotte Dockès (Institut de l'Elevage), Philippe Chotteau (Institut de l'Elevage)