October 12, 2011


World's meat output, consumption increase rapidly



Global meat output and consumption have risen briskly in recent decades, with negative environmental, public health and economy impacts, stated a study conducted by Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet project for Vital Signs Online.


Worldwide meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20% in just the last 10 years. Meanwhile, industrial countries are consuming growing amounts of meat, nearly double the quantity in developing countries.


Large-scale meat production has serious implications for the world's climate. Animal waste releases methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouse gases that are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively.


Dirty, crowded conditions on factory farms can propagate sickness and disease among the animals, including swine influenza (H1N1), avian influenza (H5N1), foot-and-mouth disease, and mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). These diseases not only translate into enormous economic losses each year.


Mass quantities of antibiotics are used on livestock to reduce the impact of disease, contributing to antibiotic resistance in animals and humans alike. Worldwide, 80% of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were used on livestock and poultry, compared to only 20% used for human illnesses. Antibiotics that are present in animal waste leach into the environment and contaminate water and food crops, posing a serious threat to public health.


The research also discovered that pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world, followed by poultry, beef, and mutton.


Poultry production is the fastest growing meat sector, increasing 4.7% in 2010 to 98 million tonnes.


Worldwide, per capita meat consumption increased from 41.3 kilogrammes in 2009 to 41.9 kilogrammes in 2010. People In the developing world eat 32 kilogrammes of meat a year on average, compared to 80 kilogrammes per person in the industrial world.


Of the 880 million rural poor people living on less than US$1 per day, 70% are partially or completely dependent on livestock for their livelihoods and food security.


Demand for livestock products will nearly double in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, from 200 kilocalories per person per day in 2000 to some 400 kilocalories in 2050.

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