Worldwatch slams meat factory concept

INDIA - Since the latest outbreak of avian flu in Southeast Asia in 2003, public health officials, farmers, veterinarians, government officials and the media have referred to the threat as a 'natural' disaster.

However, avian flu, mad cow disease, and other emerging diseases that affect humans from animals are symptoms of a larger change taking place in agriculture — the spread of factory farming.

An article in the latest release from the Worldwatch Institute, titled 'Happier meals: Rethinking the global meat industry', research associate Danielle Nierenberg describes how factory farms are breaking the cycle between small farmers, their animals, and the environment, with collateral damage to human health and local communities.

Over the last half century, the human appetite for meat, milk and eggs, has soared in both industrial countries as well as developing countries. Globalised trade and media, lower meat prices, and urbanisation have helped make diets that are high in animal protein a near-universal aspiration.

The article admits one benefit: the world price of beef per 100 kg has fallen by roughly 25 per cent of its value 30 years ago.

From the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, meat consumption in developing countries grew by 70 million tons, nearly triple the rise in industrial countries.

Industrial systems today generate 74 per cent of the world's poultry products, 50 per cent of all pork, 43 per cent of beef, and 68 per cent of eggs.

While industrial countries dominate productions, it is in developing nations where livestock producers are rapidly expanding and intensifying their production systems.

Source: Business Standard
calendar icon 23 February 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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