Beauty and the Beef

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Beauty and the Beef

Term: 2013
Published: December 6, 2013
Revised: March 12, 2014

African farmers living in areas with wildlife are faced with a serious dilemma:  they cannot sell their healthy, free range beef to the lucrative export market.  Current international trade practices dictate that they cannot protect the wildlife and, at the same time, farm their cattle in the same general area.  If they want to export their beef to wealthy nations, they will have to get rid of all the wild buffalo and put up environmentally damaging veterinary fences.  Robin Lyonga lives in the spectacular and largely unspoilt environment of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.  He and his community are poor.  What should he choose when trying to lift himself and his community out of poverty: protecting the wildlife and pursuing opportunieties related to ecotourism and trophy hunting, or turning his back on conservation and selling his cattle into the lucrative beef export market?  The truth is that there is a win-win solution:  Robin Lyonga and his community can earn an income from conservation and sell their beef to the export market.  All that is needed to enable this potentially bright future for millions of African cattle farmers is a small change in attitude on the part of wealthy trading nations.

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This Work, Beauty and the Beef, by The Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.