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Abstract

Since India’s independence some 50 years ago, it has experienced considerable economic growth and structural change; a trend accelerated by its structural reforms which began in 1991. These changes are also reflected in trends in its livestock sector which has shown considerable growth in recent decades (especially since the late 1970s). There have also been major changes in the composition of the Indian livestock sector. The population of non-ruminants (particularly chickens) has expanded very rapidly and so their relative importance has risen substantially. Non-ruminant production (poultry and pigs) has increasingly become commercialised and industrial in nature. Trends and developments in India’s livestock industries since 1961 are outlined. Consequences and prospects for consumption of livestock products in India and international trade are discussed along with the environmental impacts of developments in India’s livestock industries. As observed, livestock developments in India have been significantly influenced by religious and cultural factors. Consequently, the nature of India’s livestock sector is to some extent unique.

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