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.

2 October 2014

BBSRC - Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has released a report on sustainable intensification (SI) together with an invitation for interested parties to comment. Responses received will be taken into account in addressing the group’s recommendations.

15 September 2014

This report, Farm animal welfare: Past, present and future, looks back at how farm animal welfare assurance schemes have developed over the past 20 years, and assesses potential future development of such schemes.

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22 July 2014

The Animal Health & GHG Emissions Intensity Network is a UK-led initiative of the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).  It aims to bring researchers from across the world together to investigate links and synergies between efforts to reduce livestock disease and reduce the intensity of livestock related GHG emissions. The network’s first workshop was held in Dublin on the 25th March 2014.

2 May 2014

This study models two policies for increasing cattle ranching productivity in Brazil in order to analyse whether intensification of pasture-based cattle ranching would allow for rainforest protection and further enable Brazil to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and improve agricultural productivity.

10 April 2014

Since this is a complex but very interesting paper, we’ve put together a more detailed summary and explanation of the paper’s approach and findings, together with some comments in this document here.  Our summary and commentary draws upon some very helpful insights from Professor Pete Smith at the University of Aberdeen and includes some useful commentary from Dr Marco Springmann at the University of Oxford – thanks to both.

9 April 2014

This very interesting paper essentially argues that policies designed to incentivise production efficiencies achieve greater GHG reductions than those focusing on consumption. Moreover they do so at lower calorie ‘cost’ than consumption side measures. The abstract is given below, but we’ve produced some further explanation of the paper’s approach and findings, together with some comments in Our summary and commentary (which you can also download as a PDF below) draws upon some very helpful insights from Professor Pete Smith at the University of Aberdeen and includes some useful commentary from Dr Marco Springmann at the University of Oxford – thanks to both.

6 February 2014

Farmagaddeon describes the effects of livestock intensification (“factory farming”) around the world. It makes the case against industrialised agriculture arguing that it affects not only the welfare of farmed animals but also increasingly our countryside, health and the quality of our food all around the world.

6 February 2014

The European Commission released an announcement before Christmas 2013 on new proposals for regulation of animal cloning in the food chain. The proposal argues that farm-animal cloning should be banned in the European Union, along with imports of cloned livestock and the sale of food from such animals. In a report commenting on the new regulation the consultancy ICF GHK argues that in principle the EU could however still produce offspring of clones by importing reproductive material from clones from EU trading regions, and by importing live animals or food products derived from such animals.

22 January 2014

The Meat Atlas, produced by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Friends of the Earth, examines the many aspects of the global meat system and aims to add to the debate on the need for better, safer and more sustainable food and farming. It presents a global perspective on the impacts of industrial meat and dairy production and illustrates its negative impacts on society and the environment. The report also describes possible solutions at both individual and political level.

5 December 2013

The SAI (Sustainable Agriculture Initiative) has launched its principles for Sustainable Beef Farming at the “Beefing up Sustainability” seminar on 26th November 2013. These principles represent the food industry’s position on achieving sustainability in beef farming. The ambition is that the principles will lead the way to beef production that is better able to help protect the environment,and deliver improved social and economic conditions for farmers, their employees and local communities.

13 November 2013

The European Commission has announced funding for three major research projects designed to promote innovation in the meat and livestock sector. The funding will come from EU’s outgoing Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

5 September 2013

This publication by FAO examines how fruit and vegetable wastes (FVW) could be used as livestock feed. The demand for livestock products is rapidly increasing in most developing countries but in many cases there are severe feed deficits. The sustainability of feed production systems is being challenged due to biophysical factors such as land, soil and water scarcity, food-fuel-feed competition, ongoing global warming and frequent and drastic weather events, along with increased competition for arable land and non-renewable resources such as fossil carbon-sources, water and phosphorus.

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