Animal Products / Food Safety

Meat atlas – on the meat we consume and its impacts

Is humanity substituting the quality and safety of our meat with quantity? Published in January 2014, the Meat Atlas looks at commercial and small & medium scale meat production in the developed and developing countries and the global effects on livestock farming on livelihoods and individuals.

‘…Contribution to poverty reduction, gender quality and a healthy diet and eating meat does not have to damage the climate and the environment.

The report chapters include:

‘A species-poor planet; The genetic basis of livestock is getting ever narrower. We are relying on a few, specialized breeds of animals, such as the black-and-white Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle that are raised in over 130 countries. A few high-yielding strains also dominate the production of chickens, goats, pigs and sheep.

‘The grain in the feed trough; Ruminants and people do not have to compete over food. But producing more meat requires ever more grain to feed to animals as concentrates. If we cannot grow enough at home, we have to import it from abroad.

‘In search of good food; Concerned consumers in the rich world face a dilemma. They want good-quality meat that is produced in an environmentally friendly, ethical manner. How best to ensure this? …Farmers who use ecological methods are struggling to compete with large-scale industrial producers who focus on speed and quantity. These big producers can afford to sell at low prices because they do not take external costs including damage to the environment, or harm to animals and human health, into account.

‘What to do and how to do it: individuals and groups; Given all the problems with livestock production and meat consumption, is there anything that normal people can do?

Various recommendations on safer farming system such as supporting small and medium enterprises that could counter some of the livestock farming negative effects are discussed in the report.

Download the report

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