New research, published in Science of the Total Environment, shows that in order to preserve our planet's ecosystems and biodiversity, requires a substantial reduction in meat consumption.
Domestic animals breeding farm for food – pigs, cows, sheep, goats etc. – is, according to experts, the main cause of deforestation and the disappearance of habitats among wild animals. At the same time, it takes over 75% of agricultural land in the world, a decisive factor of climate change and water pollution.
To decrease the demand for land and also the ecological footprint of agriculture, American biologists and Kenneth J. Feeley Brian Machovina, authors of the study claim that we need to reduce our consumption of animal products to 10% of daily caloric intake. In other words, each of us should eat in a day not more than one portion of meat the size of a pack of playing cards.
Research led by two biologists at the University of Florida shows that in the regions with the greatest biodiversity (Asia, Africa and South America), the meat production is increasing. By 2050, some countries may require a 30-50% expansion of existing agricultural areas in order to provide enough meat for human consumption. Among these are China – where rapidly rising population and increased consumption of meat causes – and countries in Africa and Asia, where wild meat consumption growth entails an expansion of hunting practices.
The two biologists believe that hope lies in products of plant origin: the cultivation of fruits, vegetables and protein-rich vegetable plants only on agricultural land already used could provide even 70% of daily caloric needs of the global population. Soybeans contain, for example, twice as many proietine than beef, pork and chicken, and 10 times more protein than milk.
Growing them requires much smaller land area than required for livestock and specialists calculations show that by using rational and efficient use of existing farmland could provide food for another 4 billion persons.