In 2001, there were an estimated 8,690,000 goats, 6,039,000 sheep, 6,735,000 head of cattle, 680,000 donkeys, 467,000 camels, 165,000 horses, 83,000 hogs, and 23,364,000 chickens in Mali.
Virtually all cattle are owned by nomads. Cattle herding is centered in the Sahel (Nioro-Nara), the central Niger Delta (Ségou-Mopti-Bandiagara-Niafounké-Goundam), and the curve of the Niger (Tombouctou-Gao). A significant portion of trade in live animals is clandestine, because of higher prices in neighboring countries. Principal clients for cattle are Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, and for sheep and goats, Côte d'Ivoire and Algeria. Meat and cattle are also exported to other African neighbors, such as Guinea, Senegal, Niger, and Benin.
There are two modern slaughterhouses, in Bamako and Gao. Total meat production was estimated at 213,000 tons in 2001. Livestock exports are the second largest source of foreign exchange after cotton. Milk production was estimated at 438,000 tons (41% goat, 38% cow, 21% sheep), and the production of hides and skins at 24,000 tons.