How Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) Enter the Food Chain in non-GMO Producing Countries

The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in livestock and crops, as well as trade and consumption of GMOs are highly controversial topics.

Proponents of genetic engineering argue that GMOs represent the only viable solution to food shortages in an ever-growing global population. They claim that the use of GMOs in agriculture and their consumption have caused no harm to livestock or humans so far. Heated debate also persists over GMO food labelling, with food manufacturers in the USA arguing that mandatory GMO labelling hinders the development of agricultural biotechnology, and may also “exacerbate the misconception” that GMOs endanger human health. Continue reading

CABI board member Akhter Mateen explains how CABI is delivering on SDG1: No Poverty


One in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.25 a day and many of these are the 500 million smallholder farmers around the world.

But CABI is working hard to help small-scale farmers lift themselves out of poverty. We collaborate with people and organizations working across the supply chain that brings food from 'field to fork', helping farmers receive a fairer share of the value they create.

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CABI Books on Livestock Breeds and Breeding Are Essential Resource for Education, Research and Policy Influencing

By M Djuric, DVM

This article focuses on the following books:

1. “Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding: 2 volume pack”, edited by V Porter, L Alderson, S Hall, D P Sponenberg, March 2016, Hardback, ISBN 9781845934668. Volume 1: Asses, camelids, cattle, goats, horses and pigs, Volume 2: Sheep, water buffalo, yak and other livestock.

2. “Mason's World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties,” published in August 2002; DOI: 10.1046/j.1439-0388.2002.00353.

3. “A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties” by Ian Lauder Mason, 1996 (ISBN 0851991024); [previous editions: 1988, 1969 1957 (reissued with Supplement), first published in 1951].


In March 2016, CABI published “Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding”, which was written by co-authors (Porter, Hall and Sponenberg). This is a major international and much expanded reference book based on Ian Mason's original book, which includes breeds of domestic livestock. This version covers conservation of animal genetic resources, and, as previous versions, includes both wild and domestic animals and is equally important to both developed and to low and middle income countries.

Prior to publication of this book, Ian Mason compiled and edited four editions of his authoritative book “A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties” since the first edition in 1951.

The fifth edition of this book was revised by Valerie Porter in 2002, and in this edition the original author’s name was moved to the title, “Mason's World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties”, an honour which was well deserved.  

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Author of Month Blog: Olfaction in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Birte L. Nielsen


We all use our nose much more than we think. Is this fish okay to eat? Can you smell gas? Mmm, they smell nice! From knowing when to change a baby’s nappy to choosing (and using) a particular deodorant, odours affect our behaviour on a daily basis. And yet, we do not consider ourselves a very "smell dependant" species. Indeed, we rely heavily on sight and sounds in our interactions with our surroundings. But the reality is that odours – and our ability to smell them – have a huge influence on our well-being.

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Temple Grandin – the influence of her literature on animal welfare policy


Temple Grandin is a world-renowned expert on animal behaviour and welfare. Two of her CABI-published titles show how literature can be crucial for bringing about a change for the better in animal welfare.

Grandin’s book on Improving Animal Welfare – in its second edition – aims to help those working with animals to apply methods to improve welfare by bridging the gap between scientific research and practical approach. Her book on Livestock Handling and Transport - now in it’s fourth edition – integrates scientific research and industry literature on livestock, and distils this to provide a practical guide to their humane handling to help minimise animal stress.

Our assessment into these titles has shown that the books have been used extensively in teaching and research. The University of Bristol and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have adopted them on their animal welfare courses as required reading. Concepts from the books are also making a real difference to animal welfare by being incorporated into guidelines for animal handling and transport, as well as in lobbying for welfare improvements. This demonstrates how impactful a book can be and how knowledge can, crucially, be imparted to affect change.

Many guidelines and codes of practice for animal welfare have been formed that refer specifically to Improving Animal Welfare, and Livestock Handling and Transport.  These include the Canadian National Farm Animal Care Council, the Animal Welfare Transport within New Zealand and the UK Farm Animal Welfare Committee, as well as the Guidelines for the Humane Transportation of Research Animals, published by the National Research Council of the National Academies.




Guidance from the book Improving Animal Welfare has been used by various groups to influence the design of new legislation regarding animal transport, slaughter and euthanasia. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes in its “Proposal for Legislative Reform, with recommendations to Strengthen Animal Welfare Laws in Singapore,” that “An animal’s abnormal behaviour can be a strong indicator of the animal’s mental suffering.” The proposal cites Improving Animal Welfare as a source.

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies commented on proposed Amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations in 2006. The Humane Society, Farm Sanctuary, Compassion Over Killing, and Animals’ Angels cited Livestock Handing and Transport in a petition to the United States Department of Agriculture. It also cited this title in its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regarding the interstate truck transport of animals over the “Twenty-eight Hour Law” on truck transport of animals.

Temple Grandin Book Competition

For a chance to win a signed copy of Temple Grandin’s book, Livestock Handling and Transport, enter our social media competition. See how to enter the competition here.

One Health: free online course from FutureLearn features CABI authors


One Health is about connectedness: "the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, plants and our environment”.

On One Health Day, November 3rd 2016, CABI's editors held a One Health (#OneHealth) Blogathon to focus attention, contributing a total of 6 blogs to Handpicked… and Carefully Sorted, each written from the viewpoint of a different sector.   Our Plantwise Blog contributed One Health: Plantwise’s ambition to improve the health of people, plants and animals.

We hope you found them informative but your learning need not be confined to our blogs!

Sign up to a free online One Health course from FutureLearn: starts November 7th 2016, runs for 6 weeks. Lecturers are the CABI authors Esther Schelling,  Jakob Zinsstag and Bassirou Bonfoh of Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute.

Esther, Jakob  and Bassirou are all authors of chapters in CABI’s  book One Health: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Health Approaches [2015].  Indeed Esther and Jakob are also co-editors.

FutureLearn  courses are easy to follow and well-paced: you get one unit per week.  I speak from experience as because of my interest in evidence-based medicine, in October 2015, I took "Informed Health Consumer: Making Sense of Evidence". 

I hope you can make use of this One Health course.

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‘One health’ and the economics of the human animal bond.

Companion Animal Economics Cropped
One of a series of blogs  written by CABI editors for One Health Day November 3rd 2016

The term ‘One health’ was created to emphasise the fact that health of humans and animals were inter-linked and that the control of zoonotic diseases is best achieved by breaking down the barriers between human and veterinary medicine, developing an holistic approach. The disaster of BSE and the emergence of a new human disease, variant-CJD, and the risk of another pandemic of avian influenza, strengthened the case for One-health, and it has been adopted by the WHO, OIE, and many other relevant organizations.

Within the area of One-health, interest has been growing on the modern phenomenon of companion animals. In many parts of the world, particularly in developed countries, pets – mainly dogs and cats, are kept as companions, and are treated as one of the family. They are pampered and treated to expensive veterinary treatments when they become ill, whereas in earlier times, a sick pet would be destroyed and replaced. This attitude to animals is particularly well established in the UK, a nation of animal lovers, with an estimated 12 million (46%) households incorporating about 65 million companion animals, and  where it is not unusual to see a sign on the door of a pub saying “No children, dogs welcomed”.

The beneficial health effects that animals can have on people has been recognised with such schemes as riding for the disabled and therapy dogs that are trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with autism. The term ‘human animal bond’ was coined to describe this mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours that are essential to the health and well-being of both.  

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