Knowledge for better food systems

Research note: Animal welfare and climate change

In this research note, the US-based Open Philanthropy Project discusses whether animal welfare might be helped or hindered by climate-focused reductions in meat consumption. For example, the note points out that meat types with a relatively low carbon footprint (e.g. chicken) are often from smaller animals (compared to, say, cows) and thus require more animals to be farmed and killed.

The note also discusses the potential trade-offs between livestock farming efficiency and the space available to each animal (e.g. it claims that free-range cattle may cause higher emissions than factory-farmed cattle).

Read the research note here. See also the Foodsource building block What is animal welfare? and the FCRN report Animal efficiencies, animal welfare: either/or, or both/and?

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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