While the international trade in small ruminants and small ruminant products is small relative to the trade in bovine, swine and poultry products, it is still economically important. In addition to wool, it includes some unique products (such as goat and sheep milk cheeses, cashmere fibre and karakul pelts) and the sheep/goat meat trade plays a large part in sustaining livelihoods in several regions of the world. The trade in small ruminants and their products also merits consideration because sheep and goats may transmit zoonotic diseases such as Rift Valley fever, Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever, brucellosis and listeriosis. They also may transmit highly infectious livestock diseases, such as peste des petits ruminants, to naïve populations of small ruminants in other countries. This can have dramatic consequences, particularly for poor people whose livelihood often depends on small ruminants. In addition, sheep and goats can serve as an important source of foot and mouth disease (FMD) for cattle. This has enormous global trade implications and it is important, therefore, that sheep and goats be considered in FMD control programmes aimed at improving access to trade.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy – Cashmere – Disease – Foot and mouth disease – Goats – International trade – Meat – Milk – Peste des petits ruminants – Rift Valley fever – Scrapie – Sheep – Skins – Wool – Zoonosis.