Raising livestock is a primary activity in the northern section of Senegal and a secondary one for farmers in the southern and central regions. Cattle are raised mainly by the Sérer and by nomadic Fulani. Sheep and goats are important in parts of the southwest. Cattle imported from Mauritania meet part of the nation's meat requirements, but livestock are also exported to neighboring countries.
In 2001, the estimated livestock population included 3.2 million head of cattle; 4.8 million sheep; four million goats; 492,000 horses; 410,000 donkeys; 280,000 hogs; 4,000 camels; and 45 million poultry. The slaughter in 2001 yielded an estimated 52,500 tons of beef and veal and 33,000 tons of sheep and goat meat. Hides are exported or used in local shoe production and handicrafts. Substantial quantities of cheese, butter, and canned and powdered milk are imported.
The poultry sector consists of a few commercial producers and an important informal sector that also raises the chicks produced by the commercial sector. Production of poultry meat totaled 164,100 tons in 2001. Egg production was 33,000 tons in 2001. In 1996, an outbreak of Newcastle disease disrupted local egg production, and producers began vaccinating chicks at the breeding farms. Due to the large size of the traditional poultry sector, there is always disease present.