Ethnoveterinary Medicine

An annotated bibliography of community animal healthcare

Marina Martin, Evelyn Mathias, and Constance M. McCorkle

Livestock raisers and healers everywhere have traditional ways of classifying, diagnosing, preventing, and treating common animal diseases. Many of their 'ethnoveterinary' practices offer viable alternatives or complements to conventional, Western-style veterinary medicine especially where the latter is unavailable, unaffordable, unreliable, or inappropriate. The highly interdisciplinary and international field of Ethnoveterinary Research & Development was introduced and overviewed in a previous volume in IT's series on Indigenous Knowledge and Development (McCorkle et al. 1996). The present bibliography constitutes a follow-on volume, packed with annotations on 1,240 publications that deal with sociocultural, political-economic, and environmental as well as biomedical aspects of community animal healthcare.

Entries span 118 countries of Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Examples of ordinary people's diverse knowledge, skills, beliefs, and both empirical and medico-religious practices are recorded for some 200 health problems of 25 livestock species kept by more than 160 named ethnicities in these nations. The species discussed range all the way from 'exotics' like reindeer, camelids, elephant, and yak, through more familiar farm as well as pet animals, to micro-livestock like fish and bees. Reference is made to 765 plant species or genera, some 45 inorganic items or compounds, and innumerable foodstuffs and household items employed as materia medica in treatments that run the gamut of medicinal, surgical, physical/mechanical, and supernatural. Also noted are well over 100 types of local healthcare specialists. In addition, stockraisers' many astute and often environmentally friendly health-related herding, housing, husbandry, and breeding practices are documented. 

The volume prioritises 20th-century literature, with the bulk of publications dating from 1989 to 1999.  It is designed to provide researchers, development professionals, and policymakers working in agriculture, education, national development generally, and also human medicine with contemporary data, information, ideas, and approaches for the practical evaluation, application, and extension of community animal healthcare savvy and resources to solving immediate development problems.  Readers concerned about issues like toxic residues in livestock products, chemoresistance from over-medication of animals, or the environmental impacts of stockraising will also find the book provocative.  At a larger level, the bibliography suggests the many potential benefits to people everywhere of systematically studying and building upon sometimes ancient -- and sometimes brand-new -- local/indigenous knowledge.

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