Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Animal issues

Since the agricultural revolution which began around 12,500 years ago, humans have domesticated animals to serve their needs, and hunted others from the wild. For the food system animals have been essential as a source of food, labour, and organic fertilizer while ownership of animals may also have cultural, economic or symbolic import. Industrial farming techniques have allowed for large scale production of animal products, which has raised new ethical concerns about their welfare and more fundamentally about the morality of using animals for human purposes. The resource-intense nature of livestock production has attracted attention from researchers, civil society and policymakers alike. Finally, zoonotic diseases, those which can be spread between animals and humans, are a common source of human infection.

31 August 2016

This report commissioned by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and written by its High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) focuses on sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition, specifically in relation to livestock.

31 August 2016

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications provides additional evidence that a specific group of controversial pesticides, neonicotinoids, affects wild bees negatively. The work was funded by the UK government and related data of wild bee distributions over time to the introduction of the pesticides in British fields. It is the first to link the pesticides to the decline of many bee species in real-world conditions.

16 August 2016

In this blog David McCoy, director of Medact, argues that UK farmers and government should work hard to reduce on-farm antibiotic use. With evidence building that antimicrobial resistance in farm animals can be transferred across to humans, the issue is becoming increasingly urgent.

16 August 2016

One Dutch animal rights NGO and a growing public antipathy to the extremes of industrial animal farming have caused several major supermarkets in the Netherlands to stop selling meat from fast-growing chickens.

9 June 2016

Taking as their starting point a hypothetical zero-deforestation for agricultural production, where people would refrain from clearing any further forests for agricultural purposes, the researchers behind this study look at both supply side and demand side measures to assess how changes in production and diet can assist in halting deforestation

1 April 2016

Ministers of the European Parliament have voted to adopt a new EU regulation aimed at improving the welfare of animals, encouraging farmers to practice good husbandry that helps prevent disease outbreaks and importantly intensify the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

31 March 2016

This paper finds that the EU’s climate targets for 2050 for methane and nitrous oxide can be met by a combination of technological improvements in agriculture (found to have a potential to cut emissions by nearly 50% in optimistic scenarios) and through a reduction in beef consumption. The study authors argue that these targets can be met even with a continued high consumption of pork and poultry.

31 March 2016

This new paper published in Nature Climate Change, assesses the mitigation potentials achievable through improved livestock management practices and moderating meat consumption. It estimates that livestock-oriented measures could account for up to half of the mitigation potential of the global agricultural, forestry and land-use sectors but emphasises that the gap between technical potential and social and economic feasibility is likely to be large.

16 February 2016

This policy briefing by the Eating Better alliance, aimed at UK Government, Devolved Administrations and the EU, recommends that action be taken to shift eating patterns towards less and better quality meat, and more plant-based foods.

16 February 2016

The second SoW-AnGR by the FAO reviews the developments that have been made in the area of using, developing and safeguarding the genetic resources (i.e. the diversity of breeds) of our mammalian and avian livestock since the first SoW-AnGR report was released in 2007.

3 February 2016

This article by the Sustainable Food Trust summarises and reviews the latest report by The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. The author highlights the calls by the Review’s chair, Jim O’Neill, for a decreased use of antibiotics - especially those of most use in human medicine - worldwide, and presents the evidence laid out in the report and elsewhere for the link between veterinary use of antibiotics in livestock and increased antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens.

3 February 2016

This report quantifies the losses of reactive nitrogen from EU agriculture and food systems by food type, and assesses the impact of alternative diets (especially reduced meat) on the environment (through nitrogen emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and land use) and human health. Reactive nitrogen losses associated with agriculture refer mainly to the release of ammonia and nitrous oxide into the air, and nitrates into the ground. Nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, and nitrate excesses in soil can lead to water pollution.

3 February 2016

In this paper, researchers from universities in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, the UK and Germany investigate the potential for feeding livestock on less food-competitive feedstuffs (FCF – that is, animal feed derived from fewer human edible food sources) to reduce the negative environmental impacts of livestock farming.

18 January 2016

In this policy briefing, Global Justice Now reports on the alleged “hidden emissions” of three major agribusinesses, the aim being to highlight the real contribution that multinational feed, fertiliser and beef agribusinesses make to climate change.

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