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Meet your Meat: Trends and Impact of Meat Production


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The steady growth of global meat production comes at considerable cost. Industrial methods in the livestock sector cut down forests to expand grazing lands and use large quantities of water. Production uses grains (such as corn or soybeans) for animal feed and relies on heavy doses of antibiotics in animals. Beef is particularly resource-intensive. Limiting these environmental and health impacts requires not only a look at how much meat people eat, but also at the kind of meat that they consume worldwide.

Published in: Food
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Meet your Meat: Trends and Impact of Meat Production

  1. 1. Meet your Meat: Trends and Impacts of Meat Production
  2. 2. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 ©Worldwatch Institute Sources: FAOSTAT World meat production has increased more than 4-fold since 1961 MillionTons 308.5 million tons (2013) Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  3. 3. Top Meat Exporters 2013 Top exporting countries 1.7 7.6 6.4 1.9 2 1.8 4 Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  4. 4. Top Meat Producers, by Continent 131.558.5 47.2 39.9 … MillionTons North America Europe Asia South America Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  5. 5. About 43 kg of meat per capita were consumed in 2013 Industrial countries: 76 kg per capita Developing countries: 33 kg per capita But the gap is slowly narrowing Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  6. 6. Close to 70% of agricultural land is used for pasture Another 10% is used to grow feed for livestock Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  7. 7. Sales Meatland Other land Beef production is very resource-intensive It uses 60% of farmland, but yields less than 5% of world’s protein 60% 5% 60% proteinfarmland Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  8. 8. Agriculture uses 70% of the world’s available freshwater One third of that is used to produce feed for livestock Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  9. 9. Beef is much more water-intensive than many staple foods Beef Rice Eggs 15,000 1,0003,300 Milk 3,400 250 Potatoes Liters per kilogram Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  10. 10. Alternatives in meat production could reduce impacts Using grass instead of grain for feed Reduces competition for food between cattle and people Using natural fertilizers Lowers use of synthetic fertilizers Ending factory-style production Reduces dependence on antibiotics Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  11. 11. Sales Meatland Other land Changes in meat consumption could reduce impacts Eating less meat Choosing lower-impact meats Worldwatch Institute | Vital SignsOnline
  12. 12. For more information, visit ourVital Sign:
  13. 13. AboutVital Signs Online: Vital Signs Online is produced by the Worldwatch Institute and provides business leaders, policymakers, and engaged citizens with the latest data and analysis they need to understand critical global trends.
  14. 14. About theWorldwatch Institute: Through research and outreach that inspire action, theWorldwatch Institute works to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs.
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