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Beyond Factory Farming: report - Compassion in World Farming

Beyond Factory Farming: report - Compassion in World Farming

greenhouse gas

greenhouse gas emissions.’ 8 Studies showthat removing meat from an individual’s dietcould halve the total quantity of water usedfor that individual’s food production. 3 A 50%reduction in the consumption of meat in theUnited States, in combination with otherchanges in technology and productionmethods, could cut by half the energy inputsto the United States food system. 5 A 60%reduction in meat consumption in alldeveloped countries could prevent thepredicted steep increase in livestock-relatedgreenhouse gas emissions between now and2050. 9 Livestock production globally isresponsible for 18% of human-inducedgreenhouse gas emissions, a higherproportion than global transport. 6, 7Animal production andclimate changeFactory farming of animals for food is highlycarbon intensive. Currently around 60 billionanimals (poultry and mammals) are used toproduce food annually. 10 It has been widelypredicted by policymakers that global meatproduction will double by 2050. This wouldpotentially increase the number of livestockto 120 billion and double the quantity of theworld’s resources of land, energy and waterneeded to grow the crops to feed them.The projected doubling in animal productioncomes at a time when climate change maymake large areas of the world’s existingcropland unusable or seriously reduce cropyields due to coastal flooding, drought andan increase in crop pests. A sea level rise ofone metre or more is possible by the end ofthis century; this would flood one-fifth ofBangladesh and 2 million km 2 of landglobally. As many as 150-200 million peoplecould be permanently displaced by 2050 dueto rising sea levels, floods and droughts. 11These people may need to re-build theirtowns and cities on what was previouslyfarmland. Already millions of hectares ofcropland are being lost annually to erosionand salinisation. 5 Water resources couldbecome so stretched as to cause armedconflicts in some areas. 12, 13 At some timebetween 2010 and 2020 the world will reach‘Peak Oil’ - the point at which themaximum production of oil and natural gashas been reached, resulting in the end ofcheap energy.It is clear that the huge resources of land,water and energy needed to produce animalfeed for factory farms may not be there touse as we approach 2050. Factory farmedmeat production will be in competition withboth people and the biofuel industry foressential resources. At the very least, factoryfarming will become extremely costly, and itcould well become impossible. It is evenmore likely to be seen as environmentallyindefensible.Why factory farming must endby 2050A few years ago this question would nothave been even asked, since it was taken as agiven that industrialisation was the future ofanimal production. However today it is clearthat the economic and environmentalconditions for animal farming in the decadesleading to 2050 could be entirely differentfrom those of the past.The reality of climate change and theongoing resource crisis present developedcountries such as those of the EuropeanUnion (EU) with the need to re-orient andre-structure their animal farming systems.We need a food production system for thefuture that is much less wasteful of land,energy and water and produces a muchlower level of environmental pollution.This report shows that an essential aspectof a sustainable food system is an end to thewasteful over-production of meat and otheranimal products by factory farming. Thiswould mean that fewer animals would bereared but they would be reared in moreextensive conditions such as in good freerangeand organic farms, using slowergrowing and hardy animals that requirelower inputs of concentrated feed and energy.Scaling down livestock production in the richcountries of the world is the fastest and mosteffective response that we can make toreduce the environmental footprint of foodproduction and to free up grain for people.A reduction in the consumption of animalproducts is also one of the most rapid andeffective responses that an individual canmake to the global problems caused byclimate change and environmental damageand to free up natural resources for the useof the world’s poor.20BEYOND FACTORY FARMINGSustainable Solutions for Animals, People and the Planet

PART 1: FACTORY FARMING, RESOURCEUSE AND CLIMATE CHANGE1. Global economics and resourcesToday a number of economic and resourcepressures are combining to force are-evaluation of how we use global resources.These pressures include: population growthand rapid industrialisation of developingeconomies; peak oil and high energy prices;the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gasemissions; the biodiversity crisis; the demandfor biofuel alternatives to oil; and the impactof climate change on the availability ofland and water for agriculture, peopleand industry.According to agricultural experts, these ‘newdriving forces’, will redefine the world foodsituation. 14,15 The International Assessmentof Agricultural Knowledge, Science andTechnology for Development (IAASTD)concludes that these driving forces ‘areaffecting local and global food security andputting pressure on productive capacity andecosystems. Hence there are unprecedentedchallenges ahead in providing food within aglobal trading system where there are othercompeting uses for agricultural and othernatural resources.’ 141.1 New resource pressuresBy 2050 there is forecast to be an additional2.5 billion people alive, bringing thepopulation to 9.2 billion, compared to 6.7billion today. 86% of our population will be inless developed regions, where demand forbetter diets is increasing rapidly. 16 If we arenot able to find ways to use global resourcesmore carefully, we may find that by 2050 oreven sooner the global food system is unableto meet demand; in that case the poorerregions of the world that are unable to payhigher prices will be the worst losers.Intensive animal production is resourcehungryin every respect, at a time when weshould be reducing our resource use. As theUK Government’s Cabinet Office has pointedout, ‘Well before 2050, the world will needfarming systems capable of feeding 8–11billion people within a resource-light, lowcarboneconomy.’ 17With a ‘business as usual’ model ofagriculture, animal production will take anincreasing share of global resources. Meatproduction, if demand is not modified, ispredicted to increase by between 70% and160% by 2050 compared to 2007. 7, 18 Milkconsumption in developing countries coulddouble by 2030. 18 Agriculture as a whole willneed to take over another 2–5 million km 2 of19, 20land in the next two to three decades.Water use in agriculture (for food and fibre)will increase by 70-90% as a result ofpopulation increase and changes in diet. 14China’s oil imports increased over seven-foldbetween 1996 and 2006. 21 All these will putsevere pressure on the world’s resources. Butone of the severest constraints on intensiveagriculture will be energy – its availabilityand cost.Chatham House, the London think-tank,argued that policymakers need to plan nowfor the ‘oil supply crunch’ and the ‘foodcrunch’ that seem likely when the currentworld economic recession ends and pricescontinue to rise. 22, 23 The ‘long-term resourcescarcity trends’ including climate change,energy supply and cost, falling wateravailability and competition for land makeit likely that the global number ofundernourished and hungry people willcontinue to rise. 231.2 Peak Oil and the coming energy crunchIntensive animal production (factory farming)is highly dependent on cheap fossil fuelenergy, mainly because of the huge quantitiesof feedstuffs, particularly grains, that itconsumes. This fact alone would make it thewrong system for the era of unpredictable,scarce or costly energy supplies that we arenow entering.Sustainable Solutions for Animals, People and the Planet BEYOND FACTORY FARMING21

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