Meat and dairy production and consumption are in crisis. Globally 60 billion farm animals are used for food production every year. It is well accepted that methane emissions from cattle and other livestock are major contributors to greenhouse gas levels and to climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) predicts a rough doubling of meat and milk consumption by 2050, with particularly rapid growth occurring in the developing economies of Asia. This could raise the number of farm animals used annually to nearer 120 billion. What will this mean for the health and wellbeing of those animals, of the people who consume ever larger quantities of animal products, and for the health of the planet itself?
This powerful and challenging book explores these issues surrounding the global growth in the production and consumption of meat and dairy animals and products, including cultural and health factors, and the implications of the likely intensification of farming for both small-scale producers and for the animals. Several chapters explore the related environmental issues, from resource use of water, cereals and soya, to the impact of livestock production on global warming and issues concerning biodiversity, land use and the impacts of different farming systems on the environment. A final group of chapters addresses ethical and policy implications for the future of food and livestock production and consumption. The overall message is clearly that we must eat less meat to help secure a more sustainable and equitable world.
Part I: The Impacts of Animal Farming on the Environment
1. How to Raise Livestock - and How Not To
2. The Water Footprint of Animal Products
3. Livestock and Climate Change
4. Industrial Livestock Production and Biodiversity
5. Does Organic Farming Offer a Solution?
Part II: Farming Practices and Animal Welfare
6. Food from the Dairy - Husbandry Regained?
7. Cracking the Egg
8. Cheap as Chicken
9. Sustainable Pig Production: Finding Solutions and Making Choices
Part III: The Implications of Meat Production for Human Health
10. Industrial Animal Agriculture's Role in the Emergence and Spread of Disease
11. Environmentally Sustainable and Equitable Meat Consumption in a Climate Change World
12. How Much Meat and Milk is Optimal for Health?
Part VI: Ethical and Religious Approaches to Animal Foods
13. Developing Ethical, Sustainable and Compassionate Food Policies
14. Religion, Culture and Diet
Part V: Devising Farming and Food Policies for a Sustainable Future
15. Policy Strategies for a Sustainable Food System: Options for Protecting the Climate
16. Meat and Policy: Charting a Course through the Complexity
17. Confronting Policy Dilemmas
Joyce D'Silva has worked for Compassion in World Farming since 1985, including fourteen years as Chief Executive. She lectures internationally and has published widely on farm animal welfare, including co-editing "Animals, Ethics and Trade" (Earthscan, 2006).
John Webster is Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol, UK. He was a founder member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council and is a former President of both the Nutrition Society and the British Society for Animal Science. Currently he is a member of the Animal Health and Welfare panel for the European Food Safety Authority. His books include 'Understanding the Dairy Cow', 'Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye towards Eden', and 'Animal Welfare: Limping towards Eden', plus approximately 300 scientific and technical publications.