Little Known Small Animals of Economic Value: Why Calling Them Mini-livestock Matters
This paper assessed the meaning of several names attributed to “little known small animals with promising economic future”, for a name that is reasonable, properly depict the nature of these animals, convey stakeholders’ intent and enhance shared understanding. The study was a review of journal articles, books, reports and institutional websites. Literature search utilized Google Search and Google Scholar using key words. The study confirmed that this group of animals is known by several names– non-timber forest products (NTFPs), bushmeat, neglected and underutilized species, unconventional livestock, microlivestock and minilivestock. The variety of names instigate misunderstanding of the concept among stakeholders. Calling this group of animals bushmeat seems inappropriate as some of them are currently being domesticated and conventionally farmed. Identifying them as NTFPs is improper because the term includes plants and their products. Naming neglected and underutilized species seems tentative because sooner than later, their utilization, research and development will plateau, transforming them to conventional livestock. Calling them unconventional livestock is not apt as the name cannot be generalized to places where they are conventionally farmed and utilized. The term microlivestock misrepresents their true size and nature. For Animal Science research and practice in Nigeria, the term “minilivestock” seems the closest in meaning to what they are, hence, should be used to identify small animals used for food, feed and income. It should replace other names presently in use. Nevertheless, the list of animals that are minilivestock is extensive, fluid and will continue to change as the rate of usage of the species increases.
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