Animal Welfare

We recognise that maintaining animal health and well-being is crucial to cashmere producers’ way of life and future prosperity. Our Animal Husbandry Code of Practice helps to monitor and improve welfare practices of Mongolia’s nomadic herders, while our new joint code of practice with ICCAW will target farm-based cashmere production in Inner Mongolia.

Both codes of practice are based on the internationally recognised Five Freedoms of animal welfare:

  1. Freedom from thirst and hunger
  2. Freedom from discomfort
  3. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
  4. Freedom to express most normal behaviour
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

The prosperity of herders follows the prosperity of their herd. If you succeed to love the herd, the herd will repay with love.

Altansukh T, Bayan Tol Cooperative

Nomadic Herding and Farming Approaches

In Mongolia, herders practice pastoral herding methods and live alongside their animals, accompanying them to their pasture and moving with them to find sufficient forage. Together they face harsh and unpredictable environments, whether that be droughts, storms and extreme temperature fluctuations.

In contrast, the Inner Mongolia region of China has undergone a vast shift in the way livestock are raised. Since grazing land has been privatised and fenced, herders now raise their goats in ways much more familiar to the western-style of farming, with barns and fenced fields.

Both nomadic pastoralism and farm-based cashmere production can be welfare-friendly. We understand the need for codes of practice that are adapted to the different context, depending on whether goats are raised by farming or pastoral methods.

Livestock and wildlife

Our approach to animal welfare also considers the welfare of the native wildlife that share their rangeland habitat with cashmere goats. Through training and workshops on our Rangeland Stewardship Code of Practice, we promote practices that help preserve pasture condition and water sources in order to maintain healthy populations of wildlife. This is particularly important for wild ungulate species that rely on the same pasture resources as domestic livestock.