News / Science & Technology

Regulation Can't Keep Pace with Livestock

UN: livestock production growing faster than capacity to safely manage it

Livestock production is growing faster than the capacity of nations to safely and responsibly manage it, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

In the latest edition of its flagship report, "The State of Food and Agriculture," the FAO says that while the rapid growth of the livestock sector is helping to improve human diets, it is also posing a threat to poor farmers, the environment and human health.

People in developing countries today are consuming nearly twice as much milk, more than three times as much meat and five times as many eggs as they did five decades ago, according to the FAO report. Meanwhile, consumption of cereals and root crops has been fairly flat. The higher intake of livestock products, the report says, is the result of rising population, urbanization and increasing affluence in many parts of the world.

Weak institutions, inadequate regulations

Regulation Can't Keep Pace with Livestock
Regulation Can't Keep Pace with Livestock

Livestock help improve human nutrition, provide income and serve as a safety net for many poor farmers. But the industry's expansion has come at a cost, according to FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

"In many parts of the world," he says, "the rapid growth and transformation has occurred in a setting of weak institutions and inadequate regulations. This has given rise to systemic risks affecting livelihoods, the environment as well as human and animal health."

The FAO report points to the growth of large-scale, industrial operations that have pushed some small producers and pastoralists to the margins.  Bigger livestock herds are putting greater pressure on land resources and disrupting some ecosystems and the animals generate significant amounts of water and air pollution, including methane, a climate-changing greenhouse gas. Furthermore, livestock diseases, as well as food-borne and human diseases, are also mounting.

Problems beyond the developing world

Consumption of livestock products has increased rapidly in developing countries over the past decades, particularly from the 1980s onwards
Consumption of livestock products has increased rapidly in developing countries over the past decades, particularly from the 1980s onwards

The problems have not been limited to developing countries. Take, for example, the outbreaks of mad cow disease in Europe and swine flu in the United States. But Nicholas Minot at the International Food Policy Research Institute notes that these countries have relatively well-established regulatory systems to oversee livestock health, meat processing and food safety.

"The same problems exist in developing countries, but the institutional development of regulatory agencies lag[s] behind. And I think particularly given these high-profile disease outbreaks there is a tremendous interest in strengthening the diseases control and monitoring programs."

The FAO report says developing countries will need to strengthen disease control regulations, as well as improve environmental controls and minimize the dislocation of small farmers as the livestock industry continues to grow and concentrate into large-scale enterprises.

Finding the right balance

But FAO Assistant Director-General Hafez Ghanem cautions that government regulators need to weigh the full spectrum of economic, environmental, social and health issues associated with livestock production.

"For example," he says, "if you're only looking at the economic aspects of livestock production, that might lead to producing in ways that are harmful to the environment or harmful to health. It's obvious. On the other hand, if you only look at the environmental impact, you can hurt people's livelihoods."

Ghanem says that as the demand for livestock products continues to grow, governments need to consider these competing objectives and find the right balance.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid