In English


publié le 3 septembre 2013 (modifié le 10 juin 2018)

Heritage and knowledge in stockbreeding

The Société d’Ethnozootechnie was set up in 1971 on the initiative of Mr. Raymond Laurans, Engineer General in Agronomy, who was Director of the Rambouillet National Breeding Station for 25 years. The creation of the SEZ was one in a series of events (exhibits, various articles) that had begun in 1961.

As for all the ethno-sciences that began to appear at the end of the nineteenth century, adding the prefix ‘ethno’ to a discipline introduces the notion of ‘popular’. Hence, ethnobotany addresses popular knowledge about plants, ethnozootechnics, in the strict sense, deals with knowledge about domestic animals. However, this meaning is rather limiting and the term ‘traditional knowledge’ is to be preferred, even if the boundaries of this field remain difficult to draw. According to this definition, ethnozootechnics appears immediately as a multi-disciplinary field of interest to zootechnicians, ethnologists, veterinarians, stock-breeders, historians, linguists, local experts, and so on, each of them participating on the basis of their training and sensitivities. For example, ethnozootechnicians tend to promote traditional zootechnics, which have practically disappeared in recent decades, having split into several specialized disciplines. On the other hand, ethnologists tend to consider human-animal relationships as paramount. This is why ethnozootechnics wishes to remain very open, at the crossroads of social and natural sciences and stock-breeding techniques.

Mr. Laurans presented the Société d’Ethnozootechnie in the following way : “It studies human-animalmilieu relationships in older and present-day societies, as well as the way they have been transformed by developments in stock-breeding (…). Special emphasis is laid on the following subjects : the origin of domestic animals and the development of breeds, the history of stock-breeding, the development of techniques and stock-breeders’ language, as well as their adaptation to socio-economic conditions, the conservation of animals’ genetic heritage, the place of stock-breeding in societies, yesterday and today.”

Although even the recent history of animal breeds and stock-breeding techniques is important to many Society members, they are also concerned by current debates on extensification, landscape sustainment, valorizing regional productions and, more generally, systemic diversity in agriculture.
Since ethnozootechnics is also a state of mind, made up of openness and balanced evaluation, our members want zootechnics to recover the ethnozootechnical dimension it should never have lost, and this is what they are dedicated to working towards, on the basis of their own diversity.

The Société d’Ethnozootechnie organizes study days and publishes their proceedings in the journal Ethnozootechnie. From 1975 to 2018, 102 issues, often well over one hundred pages in length, have come out. The collection is in several university and Grandes Ecoles libraries. The first full issue in 1975 dealt with ‘endangered breeds,’ and the Société d’Ethnozootechnie was a precursor in this field
of interest in France.

Information and Membership :
Société d’Ethnozootechnie
5 avenue Foch
F 54200 Toul
France (Address of the President)
Société d’Ethnozootechnie
4 rue pierre Brossolette
94300 Levallois-Perret
France (Address of the Secretary-Treasurer)

Membership fees of €35 euros (€10 for students on proof of status) per year include two issues of the
journal and four information letters. When possible, additional issues may be published.
Website :