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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid