Livestock, animal protein ‘too precious’ to reduce: study

Livestock, animal protein ‘too precious’ to reduce: study

By Chris Moore on 4/18/2023

A recent study highlighted the importance of livestock and the meat it creates. The peer-reviewed paper was published in the Oxford University Press’ Animal Frontiers journal.

The article builds on scientific debate and evidence developed through the International Summit on the Societal Role of Meat, hosted by Teagasc in Dublin in October 2022. The edition’s guest editors and authors are among the nearly 1,000 signatories of a declaration warning that livestock systems are too precious to society to become the "victim of simplification and reductionism," they wrote.

The study found livestock farming supports the livelihoods of about one in six people globally and supplies food, nutrition, income and more.

“Plant-based production does not only lead to human-edible food, but also large amounts of inedible biomass,” the study said. “Livestock are the most likely viable option to return the nutrients captured in this biomass back into the natural cycle, while producing high-quality human-edible food.”

Evidence shows removing fresh meat and dairy from diets would harm human health, particularly for women, children, the elderly and those of low income.

Farmed and herded animals maintain a circular flow of materials in agriculture by using and upcycling large amounts of material that humans cannot eat and turning them into high-quality, nutrient-dense food.

One-size-fits-all agendas, such as drastic reductions of livestock numbers, could incur environmental and nutritional consequences on a massive scale, the paper said.