News / Health

    Study: Animal Products Must Double in 30 Years

    Zulima Palacio

    The world will need to double animal products within the next three decades in order to feed a rapidly growing and increasingly affluent population.  A United Nations report says reaching that goal will require major increases in intensive, high-efficiency livestock operations for both meat and dairy production.

    The report concedes that intensive livestock operations can pose serious ecological risks.  And that's why environmental critics are calling instead for reductions in global livestock production, and urging people to consume less, not more, meat in their diets.

    Feeding today’s population is a challenge for an already-stressed environment.  

    Experts project that the world's population will grow from 7 billion people today to 9 billion over the next 30 years.   

    Nancy Morgan is the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) liaison to the World Bank.

    “Basically, meat production and consumption will both need to double by the year 2050,” said Morgan.

    The FAO says there are currently 1.5 billion head of cattle, 1 billion pigs and 6 billion chickens in the world.  

    In the U.S. alone, millions of these and other animals are killed every year for food.  

    Morgan says over the past decade, worldwide consumption and production of meat grew faster than any other commodity.  

    “The challenge is how [do] you ensure food without increasing animal numbers and having an impact on fragile lands and our resource base?” Morgan asked.   

    More than half of the agricultural land in the world is used to raise and feed livestock.  Those farm animals are also responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere every year, methane emissions that scientists say are warming the earth's climate.

    The World Preservation Foundation (WPF), a private environmental group, recently published a report on ways to slow that climate change. It focuses on reducing livestock populations.   

    The group says it is especially concerned about widespread forest-burning to clear land for cattle operations, as seen in these fires in Brazil's Amazon forest region.

    “Fire for pasture maintenance and fire for deforestation are our targets," said Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop, the WPF's executive director.  "For methane, by far the greatest source is livestock agriculture.”  

    The WPF wants governments to stop subsidizing meat and dairy production.       

    “Meat and dairy consumption has helped to push global warming to tipping points," added Wedderburn-Bisshop.  "It is driving massive environmental destruction and pollution and is killing us with diabetes, heart disease and cancers.”

    But in many rural areas, people depend on animals for food and income.

    A reduction in global livestock production is improbable, says Jerry Hatfield, director of Agriculture and the Environment at the US Department of Agriculture.  

    “We actually have more pasture and ranch land than we do arable land or land we put into cultivation,” said Hatfield.

    He says research centers are looking at ways to make food animal operations more efficient while also protecting the environment.

    “I think it’s all about balance, and I don’t think we have done a very good job,” added Hatfield. 

    Experts agree that the next few decades will present a puzzle, how to feed nine billion people without wrecking the planet in the process.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.