"Clean, Green and Ethical" Animal Production. Case Study : Reproductive Efficiency in small ruminants

Graeme Martin, H. Kadokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Web of Science)


in response to changes in society and thus the marketplace, we need a vision for the future of our animal industries, including both on-farm and off-farm activities, that is "clean, green and ethical". Using small ruminants as a case study, we describe three "clean, green and ethical" strategies that farmers could use to improve reproductive performance. The first allows control of the timing of reproductive events by using socio-sexual signals (the "male effect") to induce synchronised ovulation in females. The second strategy, "focus feeding", is based on using short periods of nutritional supplements that are precisely timed and specifically designed for each event in the reproductive process (eg, gamete production, embryo survival, fetal programming, colostrum production). The third strategy aims to maximize offspring Survival by a combination of management, nutrition and genetic selection for behaviour (temperament). All of these approaches involve non-pharmacological manipulation of the endogenous control systems of the animals and complement the detailed information from ultrasound that is now becoming available. Importantly, these approaches all have a solid foundation in reproductive biology. In several cases, they are currently used in commercial practice, but there is still room for improvement through both basic and applied research. Ultimately, these "clean, green and ethical" tools can be cost-effective, increase productivity and, at the same time, greatly improve the image of meat and milk industries in society and the marketplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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