OUT OF FEAR?
In Europe, in the last 40 years, meat consumption has grown from 56 to 89 kilos per person/year …
Enormous increase in meat production results in a variety of different forms of environmental degradation…
- the population of Europe is rising (now nearly 375 million), while the land area used for agriculture in Europe is falling. At the same time, meat consumption per capita has increased by 0.5 kg since 1990;
- every kilo of meat produced uses 5- 21 kg of animal feed, which has to be grown somewhere. Many countries rely on imports of animal fodder. The Netherlands is an extreme example, where the agricultural industry uses about 2.5 times the available agricultural land area in the Netherlands for growing fodder, by using land in other countries;
- in addition, the 89 kg/year of meat eaten on average by European adults is far in excess of the recommended 12-15% of calorie intake from protein sources. Overeating is a contributing factor to reported increases in obesity — one of today’s main preventable causes of ill-health;
- the British epidemic of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, and other food-related crises (foot and mouth, dioxins in chickens) have recently to shoppers showing an active interest in more sustainable certified food (organic, free-range, GMO free);
- currently there are 142 million consumers of organics and 150 million people in Europe are either vegetarians or meat-reducers. Although the market for vegetarian foods is forecast to grow by only 1.5%, Datamonitor's research reveals that 138 million people across Europe are reducing their meat consumption, forming a substantial untapped group of consumers to target.
- 50% of water pollution in Europe is caused by mass keeping of livestock;
- to control the environmental damage caused by excessive application of animal waste, a number of European countries require farmers to have nutrient management plans that follow best management practices. Among other things, the hothouse effect is caused by 3 gases*: methane, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide;
- nitrogen pollution: severe manure disposal problems occur in a few regions of Western Europe because of high livestock density. These regions – in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom and France - have public water supplies that cannot meet the EC standard for potable water of 50 mg of nitrate per liter, 50 ppm.
* All 3 of them originate in the agricultural keeping of livestock in big numbers.