Friday, March 14, 2008

Livestock's Long Shadow

The Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO) released an extensive study on the world's livestock industry last year and painted a grim picture of livestock's impact on the environment. It calls the livestock industry a "major stressor" on our eco-system.

Taking over more and more crop and forest lands, and using up (and polluting) precious water sources, the livestock industry worldwide is a big threat to nature's bio-diversity. 70% of what used to be forested land in the Amazon basin has now turned to grazing pastures.

And the problem is exacerbated by the growing meat consumption worldwide. According to a Straits Times article dated 11 March reflecting the results of the FAO report, "between the 1960s and the current decade, worldwide meat production has approximately quadrupled. In the same period, per capita meat consumption has doubled - and will double again by 2050."

With this ever increasing meat consumption, livestock now actually consumes more human edible protein than they produce!

What an irony.

The livestock produce could actually greatly benefit malnourished people in third world countries but apparently meat
consumption increases when a country becomes wealthier. In other words, what the poor is lacking, the rich takes too much of it.

If people practise vegetarianism, imagine how the poor and starving could benefit from the amount of grains that would have gone into feeds!