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Tackling climate change and livestock markets in the Horn of Africa

For thousands of years, Muslims have gathered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the hajj -- an annual, five-day pilgrimage to the holy city. The largest pilgrimage in the world, the hajj draws millions of Muslims, and each year they feast on ritually sacrificed meat.

Much of that livestock, more than two million animals, now comes from the Horn of Africa. "It's big business, but it’s unclear how much small-scale livestock producers in East Africa really benefit from the growing demand for their products in the Middle East," says Emory anthropologist Peter Little.

That's one of the questions Little plans to tackle during the next phase of his research into how East African pastoralists make a living amid the vagaries of a harsh environment and climate change.

Another question: "how the warming of East Africa is creating different kinds of disease vectors, affecting both livestock and humans," says Little, who also directs Emory's new Development Studies program. The project ultimately aims to increase income and food security in the extremely vulnerable Horn of Africa.

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