Andrew Catley

In response to Stephen Sandford’s paper, I find the analysis rather simplistic and in terms of the quantitative analysis and use of the TLU/AAME ratio, probably invalid. It’s simplistic because it fails to assess the overarching political contexts affecting pastoralism and in particular, the importance of conflict and violence.

While Stephen may argue that questionnaire surveys indicate that pastoralists don’t prioritize conflict as a problem (see comments to the ongoing FAO conference), questionnaire surveys not tend to be used in war zones or areas of high insecurity. I don’t see many researchers with clipboards in southern Somalia, the Ogaden, Darfur or Karamoja at the moment. The keys issues are peace, protection and the political representation of pastoralists. Regarding the use of TLU/AAME ratio, few countries have accurate data on human and livestock populations in pastoral areas. Wearing my epidemiologist’s hat, I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from Stephen’s calculations – the phrase ‘rubbish in – rubbish out’ springs to mind.