This report is the outcome of a field study carried out with cattle herders in northern Mursiland, Ethiopia, on behalf of Oxfam GB Its immediate purpose was to seek the views of local herd owners on how the pastoral economy could be strengthened, without external intervention, in a remote area prone to cattle disease and drought A secondary focus, which emerged during the research, is the threat posed to pastoralists by government plans to encourage tourism and to construct dams on the Omo river for electricity generation The paper considers ways of putting pressure on conservation bodies and civil authorities to protect the vital subsistence resources of the Mursi people