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Livestock in the developed world: Good? Bad? Or a mixed bag?


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Presentation by Tara Garnett for ILRI Annual Program Meeting, Addis Ababa, 15 April 2010

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Livestock in the developed world: Good? Bad? Or a mixed bag?

  1. 1. Livestock in the developed world: Good? Bad? Or a mixed bag? Tara Garnett Food Climate Research Network - University of Surrey ILRI APM - 15 April 2010
  2. 2. The issue and targets <ul><li>EU estimate: livestock = 15% European GHGs (EIPRO 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Country level: UK livestock farming 7-8 % of UK’s GHGs; new study showing significant indirect global LUC impacts of UK meat consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Targets: EU 20% GHG cut by 2020 </li></ul><ul><li>UK Climate Change Act: 80% GHG cut by 2050; 34% by 2020 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modest targets for agriculture – 6-8% by 2020 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recent EU ag trends: emissions declined by 20% since 1990 due to decline in livestock numbers; higher yields; less fertiliser, manure mgt; structural changes; </li></ul><ul><li>Estimates of mitigation potential – UK study (for 2020) from 11% (ADAS) - to up to 30% by (SAC – includes some from afforestation) . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No incorporation of pop growth (8%) or dietary shift </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The facts: ASF consumption <ul><li>EU consumption stable: big incr in pork & poultry; decline in sheep </li></ul><ul><li>ASF consumption high & similar across socio-economic status: eg. UK - approx 70kg meat and 209 kg milk/person/yr. </li></ul><ul><li>Nordics eat more meat than Mediterraneans </li></ul><ul><li>Overconsumption major problem – eg. 61% adults in England overweight or obese (24% obese). 30% children. All higher in US. </li></ul><ul><li>Diet implicated in 30% deaths in developed world (WHO 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Meat sector emphasis on low fat options </li></ul>
  4. 4. The mood around dietary change <ul><li>UK: No official line /advice on meat & dairy but formally approved Advisory Council set up to advise on healthy sustainable diet; lots of research </li></ul><ul><li>Swedish National Food Administration published advice on environmentally friendly diet = less meat but not (yet?) formally govt approved; </li></ul><ul><li>Belgian city of Ghent ‘Thursday veggie day’ – veg meal default in schools, restaurants offer veg food/go vegetarian etc </li></ul><ul><li>The public: UK : 3-5% pop vegetarian; 23% ‘meat reducers’ </li></ul>
  5. 5. Current consensus of experts <ul><li>Broadly three strands of thought: </li></ul><ul><li>Optimise efficiency: Through breeding, feeding, fertiliser mgt, outputs mgt) – no change in demand; land freed for bioenergy/rewilding ( LCA and mainstream approach ); little discussion of appropriateness of using arable land for livestock feed </li></ul><ul><li>Cattle for carbon: Ruminants and carbon sequestration / resource efficiency; grazing systems ‘part of our heritage’ – mixed views on demand ( organic movement; ruminant lobby; Carbon Farmers of America ) </li></ul><ul><li>Meat is murder: Inefficient and unnecessary; seen to align with health objectives </li></ul>
  6. 6. Livestock: looking into the mixed bag ruminants Benefits Disbenefits Comment Nutrition Excellent for protein, calcium, iron, vit B12 Excessive fat; protein can be more than needed Animal foods not essential; plants can substitute Non food benefits Leather, wool, manure, rendered products Manure can be a pollutant Quantities needed? Substitution cost Eating will always have an impact Generally plant foods have lower GHG profile But replacement foods will reduce the GHG savings from dietary shift Carbon storage Pasture land stores carbon Excessive grazing & land use change releases carbon Land use change from pasture to crops will generate CO 2 Resource efficiency Livestock can consume grass & byproducts – ‘something from nothing’ Supplemented with grains & cereals in intensive systems Byproducts can be used directly as energy source in AD systems; better to reduce waste Geography Some land not suitable for cropping Arable land used for livestock too Intensive systems are arable hungry; land could be used for biomass
  7. 7. My personal take: we need a new framework for considering the role & future of livestock : <ul><li>A framework that considers: </li></ul><ul><li>How we measure GHG emissions (functional unit) </li></ul><ul><li>What we think about not just the quantity but quality of land used; and the values we assign to it </li></ul><ul><li>The extent to which we assume tomorrow is the same as today – what we mean by demand and the inevitability of trends in demand </li></ul><ul><li>The broader ethical context; food supply vs redistribution; freedom to purchase vs freedom from consumerism; animal welfare </li></ul><ul><li>But these are where the knowledge gaps lie... </li></ul>
  8. 8. Thank you Tara Garnett [email_address] Food Climate Research Network