Livestock in Emergencies Guidelines and Standards

Date of Design: 
Practical Action
Pathway Component: 
Agricultural Income, Food Production


Brief Description: The Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) is a set of international guidelines and standards for the design, implementation, and assessment of livestock interventions to assist people affected by humanitarian crises. They are based on livelihoods objectives to provide rapid assistance to protect and rebuild the livestock assets of crisis-affected communities. LEGS is intended to be used by those involved in livestock-based interventions in disasters. 

Uses: LEGS aims to support the saving of lives and livelihoods through two key strategies: 

  • Assisting in identification of the most appropriate livestock interventions in emergencies.
  • Providing standards, indicators, and guidance notes for these interventions. 

Tool Components: The LEGS toolkit is split into the following chapters: 

  1. Livelihoods-based livestock responses in emergencies
  2. Assessment and response
  3. Minimum standards common to all livestock interventions
  4. Minimum standards for destocking
  5. Minimum standards for veterinary services
  6. Minimum standards for ensuring supplies of feed resources
  7. Minimum standards for the provision of water
  8. Minimum standards for livestock shelter and settlement
  9. Minimum standards for the provision of livestock 

The LEGS assessment process is comprised of three parts that may be carried out concurrently:

  1. The role of livestock
  2. The nature and impact of the emergency
  3. Situation analysis


Number of Staff Required: The number of staff will vary according to needs and resources. The assessment team should be gender-balanced and include generalists and livestock specialists with local knowledge. It should also include community representatives and involve local institutions.

Time: This is not specified, as it will depend on the nature of the emergency. The toolkit mentions a rapid preliminary assessment, but notes that this is merely the first step to enable decisions about which technical interventions to explore. 

Cost of Assessment: Not specified; this will depend on the emergency impact area and the scope of the assessment. 

Training: The toolkit does not mentions specific training required to lead the assessment, but it seems that an assessment leader would require previous emergency assessment expertise. 

Geographic Targeting: The LEGS toolkit is intended for use at community level. Targeting will depend on the impact of the disaster and organizational priorities.

Type of Data Collection: Livestock-based assessments are generally qualitative and based on the judgment of expert opinions, since quantitative analysis is not always feasible. Additionally, the shortage of time in an emergency context limits the possibility of a detailed quantitative survey. 

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The toolkit is comprehensive and includes many checklists and detailed annexes. However, it is likely that staff who lead a livestock-focused assessment would need prior experience. 

Complements other Resources: 

LEGS is not intended to be a detailed practical manual for the implementation of livestock interventions in disasters. The ‘hands-on’ guidance is covered by other sources listed in references at the end of each chapter, and includes the FAO’s series of practical manuals for livestock interventions, designed to complement LEGS. LEGS aims to complement national-level guidelines for livestock responses where they exist and to support relevant national forums to develop such guidelines where they are not already in place. 

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.