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This new paper by FCRN member Elin Röös , the FCRN’s Tara Garnett and colleagues explores the following questions: What would be the implications, for land use and greenhouse gas emissions, if our global population moved away from eating beef and other ruminant meats and switched mostly to chicken? What if we all went vegan? What if all our meat demand were met by artificial meat? Or what if, in an attempt to avoid ‘feed-food’ competition, we limited our consumption of animal products to what we could obtain by rearing animals on grasslands and feeding them byproducts and food waste?
This is a revised edition of a book on meat production edited by Joyce D'Silva and John Webster. Since its first edition in 2010, all chapters have been updated and six new chapters have been added .
In a paper in PLOS One, researcher Gregory Okin suggests that the diets of carnivorous pets, like cats and dogs, have a significant impact on climate change. He estimates that in the U.S. alone, cats and dogs are responsible for 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the country. In the U.S. there are 163 million cats and dogs, which together eat as much food as all the people in France. Okin found that to feed these animals the US releases 64 million tons of CO2.
This study by FCRN member Helen Harwatt and colleagues seeks to determine whether simple dietary changes can make a meaningful contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation efforts, by considering a very simple example of US consumers substituting beans for beef in their diets. The study uses available life cycle assessment (LCA; see Chapter 2 of foodsource) data to predict the change in GHG emissions that would be associated with a substitution of beans for beef (substitution on the basis of calories, and on the basis of protein content). They place these projected changes in the context of US 2020 GHG reduction targets.
Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s largest food manufacturers, has declared that it wants to become “the most sustainable protein company on earth”. With aims to improve nutrition, environmental sustainability, animal care and corporate responsibility, CEO Michael M. McCain released a statement saying that “Our food system has drifted from its roots, to nourish wellbeing, to farm sustainably, to view food as a universal good for all. We must serve the world better.”
Eating Better, an alliance of British organisations working together to help people move towards eating less meat and dairy, has published a policy report entitled ‘Beyond the CAP: policies to support better UK meat and dairy production post-Brexit’.
The world’s largest agricultural commodities supplier, Cargill, obtained its highest profit in six years based on an increasing demand for meat. Animal nutrition and protein were the largest contributor to quarterly earnings for the company.
This report from The Eating Better Alliance looks at the role of business in leading the way to help people make healthy and sustainable choices, including shifting to more plant-based eating with less and better meat.
This paper compares stylised, hypothetical dietary scenarios to assess the potential for reducing agricultural land requirements. It suggests that a combination of smaller shifts in consumer diet behaviour – such as reducing beef consumption by replacing with chicken, introducing insects into mainstream diets and reducing consumer waste – could reduce agricultural land requirements.
A Global Meat News survey of top industry professionals analysing trading trends and impacts on the meat industry globally shows that most respondents (24%) stated that the pressure to limit meat consumption was the factor that hit the industry as a whole the hardest in 2016.
In this editorial in the medical journal BMJ, professor of epidemiology John D. Potter discusses the mounting evidence that our current levels meat consumption harms human health and is equally bad for the planet.
BBC’s Claudia Hammond and Tim Cockerill hosted an event at the Wellcome Collection that can now be listened to online.
This report, by the US based NRDC (The Natural Resources Defense Council) finds that the per capita diet related carbon footprint of the average US citizen decreased by 10% between 2005 and 2014, driven by a 19% decrease in beef consumption.