Although animal breeding is a major occupation in the central plateau and southern region, the largest herds are in the well-watered north. In 2001 there were an estimated 6,860,000 sheep, 1,450,000 goats, 763,000 head of cattle, 231,000 camels, 230,000 asses, 81,000 mules, 56,000 horses, 6,000 pigs, and 70 million chickens Meat production in 2001 consisted of 110,500 tons of poultry, 62,400 tons of beef, 56,200 tons of mutton, and 10,000 tons of goat meat. Milk production in 2001 was 921,000 tons; cheese, 14,400 tons.
Since 1970, a great effort has been undertaken to develop the livestock sector to meet increased demands created by Tunisia's improved standard of living and expanding tourism. Poultry farming is being encouraged to provide farmers with an additional resource and to increase protein in the local diet.