|Workers on tractors harvest soybeans in the deforested land of Campo Novo do Parecis, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. Photograph: Maurilio Cheli/AP|
Today, more and more people are eating animal products such as meat & dairy.
Our new report, ‘Appetite for Destruction’, highlights the impact that animal feed production is having on species, habitats and our health.
The huge amount of land needed to produce protein-rich feeds such as soy is having devastating effects on species & their habitats, especially in vulnerable areas such as the Amazon, the Congo Basin & the Himalayas. In fact, our UK food supply alone is directly linked to 33 species extinctions at home and abroad.
On average, we consume between 64 and 88g of protein per day, which is well above the 45-55g recommended by nutritional guidelines. This means that in 2010, we needed an area the size of Yorkshire to produce enough soy to feed our livestock. If global demand grows as anticipated, we’d need to step up our feed production by 80%, which just isn’t sustainable.
With over 23 billion chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks and guinea fowl on the planet (more than three per person!), it’s not surprising that intensive farming has led to lower quality food. For example, you’d have to consume a whopping six chickens today to get the same amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acid found in just one chicken in the 1970s.
So how can we feed the world and have enough space for wildlife at the same time? Simply put, we need to consume and produce food differently. If everyone ate the nutritionally recommended amount of animal products, we’d need 13% less land to grow feed. This means we’d save an area the size of the European Union from agricultural production.
The Livewell principles below give guidance on how to make small changes to our diets to benefit people and planet.
Download the report.