Slow Food
 
 

Meat


Slow Food believes that the way meat is produced and consumed in the current system is unsustainable, with detrimental effects on the environment, human health, animal welfare and small-scale farmers. Our solution: eat less and better meat, pay a fair price and always consider the origin.

 

Over the past 50 years, global meat consumption has risen dramatically with agriculture subjected to increasing industrialization.  Although most of the initial growth in meat consumption took place in Europe and North America; booming economies in Asia and elsewhere are now causing the global demand increase further still. The biggest growth is expected to be in China and India due to a huge demand from their new middle classes (Meat Atlas, 2014).

 

In the past, animals we kept on grazing land, slaughtered and processed on the farm or nearby. Today this form of production has almost disappeared. The modern industrialized production cycle for meat is driven by two principles: speed and quantity; a trend that is having devastating repercussions.

 

  • THE ENVIRONMENT:
    • According to the FAO, livestock production is responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases produced
    • Industrial livestock production pollutes water, soil and air with farming waste and chemicals used in the fields
    • Industrial agriculture relies on the production of huge volumes of animal feed; most commonly grain or soy as their high protein content causes animals to gain weight quickly. In order to provide the vast amounts of land needed to cultivate these crops, natural habitats (normally rainforests) are being destroyed. In addition, the feed, often genetically modified, is produced using intensive cropping methods, often hundreds or thousand of miles away from the farms it will supply, and using environmentally damaging fertilizers and pesticides.
  • HUMAN HEALTH
    • Excessive meat consumption has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and obesity
    • Increased bacterial resistance due to overuse of antibiotics on animals poses a threat to public health
  • ANIMAL WELFARE
    • The welfare of animals is not a priority in intensive meat production where they are treated as commodities and live a short, unnatural life filled with suffering.
  • FARMERS
    • The current meat production model is based on increased production and cost reduction with increasingly low returns for farmers. Out of the retail price we pay, only a small amount goes to the producer, while the rest goes to intermediaries, processing industries and distributors
    • Europe is a large-scale exporter of meat into developing countries, competing with local producers and threating the development of local economies and livelihood of communities
    • In addition to the destruction of natural habitats, the increased production of crops for animal feed is also displacing many small-scale farmers and indigenous communities from their land.

A reduction in the consumption of meat is the first step to countering these problems.

 


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