About LEGS

LEGS is an independent initiative that aims to improve the quality and livelihoods impact of livestock-related projects in humanitarian situations.

What is LEGS ?

The Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) are a set of international standards and guidelines for the assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation of livestock interventions, in support of people affected by humanitarian crises. LEGS draws on evidence-based good practice from around the world, which is incorporated into its Handbook, training materials and other resources.

LEGS Handbook

The LEGS Handbook provides standards and guidelines for appropriate and timely livestock-based livelihoods responses in emergencies, using a participatory and evidence-based approach.

Training Programme

The LEGS Training Programme focuses on the roll-out of a series of regional Training of Trainers (TOT) courses across Africa, Asia and Latin America.


LEGS has developed a half-day session to raise awareness about the purpose and contents of LEGS; to share information on LEGS activities; and to give a taste of the LEGS training process.

LEGS History

From early 2000, various agencies and individuals involved in livestock relief work began to question the quality and professionalism of their interventions. For example, inputs such as emergency veterinary care often arrive too late to be of any value and when delivered to people free-of-charge, undermine local service providers. In these situations, although some animals may have been saved in the short-term, the capacity of local services to provide more long-term support is damaged by the relief response. These kinds of problems are compounded because donors and NGOs often lack in-house livestock expertise and decisions on livestock programming are made without professional input.

Over time, these concerns were linked to current thinking on livelihoods and the concept of ‘saving lives and livelihoods’. Some agencies started to explore ways to deliver emergency livestock de-stocking programmes using local traders. Others began to deliver emergency veterinary care through the private sector.

The LEGS process brought these and other initiatives together to produce a single set of international standards and guidelines for livestock emergency interventions. From a global perspective, the most pressing need is to improve livestock relief programming with communities who rely heavily on livestock for their social and economic well-being. LEGS covers livestock interventions in these areas, but also addresses livestock support to settled farming communities and livestock kept by people in urban areas.

Climate change is resulting in more frequent and diverse types of disaster. Especially vulnerable are livestock-dependent communities in fragile arid and semi-arid environments who are experiencing increasing drought followed by severe flooding. LEGS addresses these and other types of slow and rapid onset emergency, as well as those compounded by conflict.

LEGS, Sphere and the Humanitarian Standard Partnership

In 2016 LEGS joined four other companion standards and Sphere to form the Humanitarian Standards Partnership (HSP). The aim of the partnership is to improve the application of humanitarian standards through increased coherence and effectiveness of outreach, whilst each maintaining the independence of each standards initiative. The current partners are:

You can download a joint standards app, which presents all the HSP standards in an easily accessible format.

Learn More

LEGS is recognised as THE handbook to guide livelihoods-based livestock interventions.

Astrid de Valon — Former Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, Trocaire, East Africa
LEGS Handbook

The LEGS Handbook

The LEGS Handbook provides standards and guidelines for appropriate and timely livestock-based livelihoods responses in emergencies, using a participatory and evidence-based approach. The Handbook was produced through a broad consultation process, drawing on good practice worldwide. The LEGS Handbook is a companion to The Sphere Handbook alongside other humanitarian standards which make up the Humanitarian Standards Partnership.

Download Now