Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 85
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Abrar, Arfan Kondo, Makoto Kitamura, Tasuku Ban-Tokuda, Tomomi and Matsui, Hiroki 2016. Effect of supplementation of rice bran and fumarate alone or in combination onin vitrorumen fermentation, methanogenesis and methanogens. Animal Science Journal, Vol. 87, Issue. 3, p. 398.

    Belanche, Alejandro Kingston-Smith, Alison H. and Newbold, Charles J. 2016. An Integrated Multi-Omics Approach Reveals the Effects of Supplementing Grass or Grass Hay with Vitamin E on the Rumen Microbiome and Its Function. Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol. 7,

    Donnison, Iain S. and Fraser, Mariecia D. 2016. Diversification and use of bioenergy to maintain future grasslands. Food and Energy Security, Vol. 5, Issue. 2, p. 67.

    Goopy, J. P. Robinson, D. L. Woodgate, R. T. Donaldson, A. J. Oddy, V. H. Vercoe, P. E. and Hegarty, R. S. 2016. Estimates of repeatability and heritability of methane production in sheep using portable accumulation chambers. Animal Production Science, Vol. 56, Issue. 1, p. 116.

    Herrero, Mario Henderson, Benjamin Havlík, Petr Thornton, Philip K. Conant, Richard T. Smith, Pete Wirsenius, Stefan Hristov, Alexander N. Gerber, Pierre Gill, Margaret Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus Valin, Hugo Garnett, Tara and Stehfest, Elke 2016. Greenhouse gas mitigation potentials in the livestock sector. Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, Issue. 5, p. 452.

    Lal, Rattan 2016. Climate Change.

    Learmount, Jane Stephens, Nathalie Boughtflower, Valerie Barrecheguren, Alba Rickell, Kayleigh Massei, Giovanna and Taylor, Mike 2016. Three-year evaluation of best practice guidelines for nematode control on commercial sheep farms in the UK. Veterinary Parasitology, Vol. 226, p. 116.

    Lu, Qi Wu, Jian Wang, Min Zhou, Chuanshe Han, Xuefeng Odongo, Edwin Nicholas Tan, Zhiliang and Tang, Shaoxun 2016. Effects of dietary addition of cellulase and aSaccharomyces cerevisiaefermentation product on nutrient digestibility, rumen fermentation and enteric methane emissions in growing goats. Archives of Animal Nutrition, Vol. 70, Issue. 3, p. 224.

    Rivera-Ferre, M.G. López-i-Gelats, F. Howden, M. Smith, P. Morton, J.F. and Herrero, M. 2016. Re-framing the climate change debate in the livestock sector: mitigation and adaptation options. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change,

    Ruiz-Ascacibar, I. Stoll, P. Kreuzer, M. Boillat, V. Spring, P. and Bee, G. 2016. Impact of amino acid and CP restriction from 20 to 140 kg BW on performance and dynamics in empty body protein and lipid deposition of entire male, castrated and female pigs. animal, p. 1.

    Slade, Eleanor M. Riutta, Terhi Roslin, Tomas and Tuomisto, Hanna L. 2016. The role of dung beetles in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cattle farming. Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, p. 18140.

    Toka, Agorasti Koh, S. C. Lenny and Shi, Victor Guang 2016. Supply Chain Management for Sustainable Food Networks.

    Verschave, Sien H. Charlier, Johannes Rose, Hannah Claerebout, Edwin and Morgan, Eric R. 2016. Cattle and Nematodes Under Global Change: Transmission Models as an Ally. Trends in Parasitology, Vol. 32, Issue. 9, p. 724.

    VOSOUGH AHMADI, B. NATH, M. HYSLOP, J. J. MORGAN, C. A. and STOTT, A. W. 2016. Trade-offs between indicators of performance and sustainability in breeding suckler beef herds. The Journal of Agricultural Science, p. 1.

    Bunger, L. Lambe, N. R. McLean, K. Cesaro, G. Walling, G. A. Whitney, H. Jagger, S. Fullarton, P. Maltin, C. A. and Wood, J. D. 2015. Effects of low protein diets on performance of pigs with a lean genotype between 40 and 115 kg liveweight. Animal Production Science, Vol. 55, Issue. 4, p. 461.

    Cooper, Kevin M. McMahon, Connor Fairweather, Ian and Elliott, Christopher T. 2015. Potential impacts of climate change on veterinary medicinal residues in livestock produce: An island of Ireland perspective††This paper is one of a series of reviews on “Climate Change and Food Safety – an Island of Ireland perspective”.. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Vol. 44, Issue. 1, p. 21.

    FRASER, M. D. FLEMING, H. R. THEOBALD, V. J. and MOORBY, J. M. 2015. Effect of breed and pasture type on methane emissions from weaned lambs offered fresh forage. The Journal of Agricultural Science, Vol. 153, Issue. 06, p. 1128.

    Hansen Axelsson, H. Thomasen, J.R. Sørensen, A.C. Rydhmer, L. Kargo, M. Johansson, K. and Fikse, W.F. 2015. Breakeven prices for recording of indicator traits to reduce the environmental impact of milk production. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Vol. 132, Issue. 1, p. 30.

    Jones, A.K. Jones, D.L. and Cross, P. 2015. Developing farm-specific marginal abatement cost curves: Cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities in sheep farming systems. Land Use Policy, Vol. 49, p. 394.

    Kantanen, Juha Løvendahl, Peter Strandberg, Erling Eythorsdottir, Emma Li, Meng-Hua Kettunen-Præbel, Anne Berg, Peer and Meuwissen, Theo 2015. Utilization of farm animal genetic resources in a changing agro-ecological environment in the Nordic countries. Frontiers in Genetics, Vol. 6,


Mitigating climate change: the role of domestic livestock

  • M. Gill (a1), P. Smith (a2) and J. M. Wilkinson (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 22 May 2009

Livestock contribute directly (i.e. as methane and nitrous oxide (N2O)) to about 9% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and around 3% of UK emissions. If all parts of the livestock production lifecycle are included (fossil fuels used to produce mineral fertilizers used in feed production and N2O emissions from fertilizer use; methane release from the breakdown of fertilizers and from animal manure; land-use changes for feed production and for grazing; land degradation; fossil fuel use during feed and animal production; fossil fuel use in production and transport of processed and refrigerated animal products), livestock are estimated to account for 18% of global anthropogenic emissions, but less than 8% in the UK. In terms of GHG emissions per unit of livestock product, monogastric livestock are more efficient than ruminants; thus in the UK, while sheep and cattle accounted for 32% of meat production in 2006, they accounted for ∼48% of GHG emissions associated with meat production. More efficient management of grazing lands and of manure can have a direct impact in decreasing emissions. Improving efficiency of livestock production through better breeding, health interventions or improving fertility can also decrease GHG emissions through decreasing the number of livestock required per unit product. Increasing the energy density of the diet has a dual effect, decreasing both direct emissions and the numbers of livestock per unit product, but, as the demands for food increase in response to increasing human population and a better diet in some developing countries, there is increasing competition for land for food v. energy-dense feed crops. Recalculating efficiencies of energy and protein production on the basis of human-edible food produced per unit of human-edible feed consumed gave higher efficiencies for ruminants than for monogastric animals. The policy community thus have difficult decisions to make in balancing the negative contribution of livestock to the environment against the positive benefit in terms of food security. The animal science community have a responsibility to provide an evidence base which is objective and holistic with respect to these two competing challenges.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Mitigating climate change: the role of domestic livestock
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Mitigating climate change: the role of domestic livestock
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Mitigating climate change: the role of domestic livestock
      Available formats
Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

KL Blaxter , JL Clapperton 1965. Prediction of the amount of methane produced by ruminants. British Journal of Nutrition 19, 511522.

RI Bradley , R Milne , J Bell , A Lilly , C Jordan , A Higgins 2005. A soil carbon and land use database for the United Kingdom. Soil Use and Management 21, 363369.

JW Czerkawski , G Breckenridge 1975. New inhibitors of methane production by rumen micro-organisms. Experiments with animals and other practical possibilities. British Journal of Nutrition 34, 447455.

P Gale , T Drew , LP Phipps , G David , M Wooldridge 2009. The effect of climate change on the occurrence and prevalence of livestock diseases in Great Britain: a review. Journal of Applied Microbiology 106, 14091423. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from

PC Garnsworthy 2004. The environmental impact of fertility in dairy cows: a modelling approach to predict methane and ammonia emissions. Animal Feed Science and Technology 112, 211223.

D Grigg 1999. The changing geography of world food consumption in the second half of the twentieth century. The Geographical Journal 165, 111.

B Hansen , ES Kristensen , R Grant , H Hogh-Jensen , SE Simmelsgaard , JE Olesen 2000. Nitrogen leaching from conventional versus organic farming systems – a systems modelling approach. European Journal of Agronomy 13, 6582.

IK Hindrichsen , H-R Wettstein , A Machmüller , M Kreuzer 2006. Methane emission, nutrient degradation and nitrogen turnover in dairy cows and their slurry at different milk production scenarios with and without concentrate supplementation. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 113, 150161.

MJ Judd , FM Kellier , MJ Ulyatt , KR Lassey , KR Tate , D SheltonI , MJ Harvey , CF Walker 1999. Net methane emissions from grazing sheep. Global Change Biology 5, 647657.

SM McGinn , KA Beauchemin , T Coates , D Colombatto 2004. Methane emissions from beef cattle: effects of monensin, sunflower oil, enzymes, yeast and fumaric acid. Journal of Animal Science 82, 33463356.

JP McInerney , KS Howe , JA Schepers 1992. A framework for the economic analysis of disease in farm livestock. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 13, 137154.

TH Misselbrook , JM Powell , GA Broderick , JH Grabber 2005. Dietary manipulation in dairy cattle: laboratory experiments to assess the influence on ammonia emissions. Journal of Dairy Science 88, 17651777.

JW Paul , NE Dinn , T Kannangara , LJ Fisher 1998. Protein content in dairy cattle diets affects ammonia losses and fertilizer nitrogen value. Journal of Environmental Quality 27, 528534.

JC Ryden , PR Ball , EA Garwood 1984. Nitrate leaching from grassland. Nature 311, 5053.

NPA Saby , PH Bellamy , X Morvan , D Arrouays , RJA Jones , FGA Verheijen , MG Kibblewhite , A Verdoodt , J Berenyi Uvegess , A Freudenschuss , C Simota 2008. Will European soil-monitoring networks be able to detect changes in topsoil organic carbon content? Global Change Biology 14, 24322442.

D Scholefield , KC Tyson , EA Garwood , AC Armstrong , J Hawkins , AC Stone 1993. Nitrate leaching from grazed grassland lysimeters: effects of fertilizer input, field drainage, age of sward and patterns of weather. European Journal of Soil Science 44, 601613.

P Smith 2005. An overview of the permanence of soil organic carbon stocks: influence of direct human-induced, indirect and natural effects. European Journal of Soil Science 56, 673680.

P Smith 2008. Land use change and soil organic carbon dynamics. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 81, 169178.

P Smith , D Martino , Z Cai , D Gwary , HH Janzen , P Kumar , B McCarl , S Ogle , F O’Mara , C Rice , RJ Scholes , O Sirotenko , M Howden , T McAllister , G Pan , V Romanenkov , U Schneider , S Towprayoon 2007b. Policy and technological constraints to implementation of greenhouse gas mitigation options in agriculture. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 118, 628.

P Smith , D Martino , Z Cai , D Gwary , HH Janzen , P Kumar , B McCarl , S Ogle , F O’Mara , C Rice , RJ Scholes , O Sirotenko , M Howden , T McAllister , G Pan , V Romanenkov , U Schneider , S Towprayoon , M Wattenbach , JU Smith 2008. Greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 363, 789813.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *