09/13/2021 at 8:05 AM CEST
Meat is cheap in supermarkets, but the damage to the climate, animals, health and farmers is immense. Experts call for a change of course, they consider a drastic reduction in consumption essential. This year’s ‘World Meat Atlas’ atlas hits the spot: the impact of factory farming on the environment is being devastating. He is one of the main responsible for the climate crisis.
It is the main conclusion of the Atlas, prepared by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the environmental organizations BUND and Friends of the Earth Europe and the magazine ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’, with financial support from the European Union (EU).
Reducing meat consumption in rich countries and promoting consumption from traditional and nature-friendly animal husbandry, grazing, are pressing needs to save the planet, the publication indicates.
The ‘Atlas of Flesh’ begins with what it calls “short lessons & rdquor ;, which are nothing but established facts. The first, that world meat production is increasing. The second is that in order to protect biodiversity and the climate, it is essential that the developed world cut meat consumption in half.
He also notes that the number of conflicts over land are on the rise, in part due to the industrial production of meat. In fact, more and more “more and more people are being killed for defending the right to land & rdquor;, notes the publication.
The biggest pesticide users
Alert that more than one billion people around the world earn their living from livestock. But he stresses that traditional and nature-friendly animal husbandry is “under pressure from industrialized agriculture & rdquor ;, from macro-farms.
But there are more troubling facts pointed out in the Atlas. For example, that nearly two-thirds of the 600 million “guardians & rdquor; of the world’s poor livestock are women. Or that the main producers of Forage crops (industrial agriculture) are among the largest users of pesticides, products that “pollute groundwater and damage biodiversity & rdquor ;.
What’s more, the increasing use of antibiotics in animals is creating increasingly resistant germs. A fact that threatens the effectiveness of antibiotics, which are among the most important drugs in human and animal medicine.
The clearing of forests to obtain agricultural or livestock land it also threatens people’s health. “Wild animals lose their natural habitats and contact with people becomes closer, thus facilitates virus transmission that can eventually trigger pandemics & rdquor ;, warn the authors of the Atlas.
“Industrial meat production Not only is it responsible for precarious working conditions, it also drives people off their land and fuels deforestation, pesticide use and loss of biodiversity. He is one of the main responsible for the climate crisis& rdquor ;, noted Barbara Unmübig of the Heinrich Böll Foundation at the presentation of the Atlas in Berlin.
Meat consumption per person doubled since 1960
Olaf Bandt, president of BUND, called for a “redirection of agrarian policy & rdquor ;, but admitted that it will not be achieved“ without a change in diet& rdquor ;. He added: “On fewer and fewer farms, more and more animals are living, which worsens groundwater pollution & rdquor ;.
The seriousness of the situation is explained by the figures referring to the increase in meat consumption. In 1960, 3,000 million people lived on Earth and, according to the Atlas, meat consumption was around 70 million tons, with an average of 23 kilograms per year per person.
But in 2018, the planet already had more than double the inhabitants: 7.6 billion people. And meat consumption was around 350 million tons, while average consumption had risen to 46 kilograms per year per person.
One of the central problems is the enormous amount of acreage required for meat production. According to the German Environment Agency, currently 71% of the world’s farmland is used for animal pastures. Much more than directly cultivable food (18%), other raw materials (7%) and sources of vegetable energy, such as corn used as biogas (4%).
Increased demand for meat causes huge areas of forest to be cut down for growing soybeans for pasture, for example, in Brazil. “90% of soy currently ends up in feeders & rdquor ;, noted Barbara Unmübig.
A new, healthier menu for the world
Solution? To reconcile the food of the world population, stop the deforestation of tropical forests and recover land for reforestation, the expert authors of the Atlas ask “rethink diet to include less meat and more vegetables& rdquor ;, as the latter require less arable land.
Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Consequences Research, recommends reduce annual meat consumption to an average of 17 kilos per person, and dairy products to 33 kilos. According to the authors of the publication, the traditional diet of India and many African countries shows that it is possible. But in North America, South America and Europe up to seven times more meat is consumed.
Meat and food firms increasingly dominate the market for grass growing, transportation, slaughter and marketing and endanger small farmers and butchers.
The authors of the Meat Atlas show the repercussions of the powerful meat industry, but also highlight its link with the global chemical industry. The cultivation of animal feed exports highly dangerous toxic substances (and sometimes banned) from large chemical companies and uses them in many regions, experts denounce.
Those who produce and export these chemicals include the European Bayer Crop Science, BASF and Syngenta and the American Corteva and FMS. According to Unmübig, the use of pesticides has caused thousands of deaths and for this reason he demanded that the German Government do “everything possible & rdquor; so that companies in that country do not export these toxic substances banned in the EU.
The situation in Spain is “sinister”, according to Greenpeace
Unmübig also warned that the agreement between the EU and Mercosur is harmful for Latin America and the Amazon, and by extension for the whole world: “The elimination of tariffs will put an end to the obstacles to send these pesticides to Latin America, and more and more parts of the Amazon rainforest will be cut down for soybean cultivation and meat production & rdquor ;.
The situation in Spain, according to Greenpeace, is “sinister”: The number of cows has doubled and the number of pigs has quintupled in the last half century. And several more macro-farms are planned, some of which would be the largest in Europe.
Greenpeace argues that macro-farms have “dire consequences & rdquor ;: “Water pollution, greenhouse effect emissions, use of huge tracts of land, deforestation for pastures and for growing food for livestock, damage to health and abuse of animals. In addition, they are a false solution against rural depopulation & rdquor ;. For all this, it collects signatures against this type of facility. It already totals more than 200,000.
‘World Meat Atlas’ 2021: https://cloud.boell.de/s/84koddn3dyY5xQw?dir=undefined&openfile=2311503
Collection of signatures against macrofarms: https://es.greenpeace.org/es/que-puedes-hacer-tu/petitios/no-macrogranjas/
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