Meat consumption on the rise

Meat consumption on the rise

WINDHOEK – Worldwide meat production continues to grow, with an estimated 258 million tons produced by farmers in the year 2004, a two per cent increase from 2003, according to the Worldwatch Institute publication, Vital Signs 2005.

The International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that by the year 2020, people in developing countries would eat more than 36 kilograms of meat on average – twice as much as in the 1980s. In China, the figure is expected to be 73 kilograms, a 55 per cent increase from 1993, while in Southeast Asia people are likely to be eating 38 per cent more meat than they do now.People in industrial countries, however, would still consume the most – nearly 90 kg a year by 2020, the equivalent of a side of beef, 50 chickens and one pig.”Beef production rose by less than one per cent and global beef trade declined by more than six per cent because of bans on imports from North America after the first reported cases of mad cow disease in the United States (US) and Canada in 2003 and 2004.Healthier livestock and the absence of the US from the market pushed meat exports in South America up by 30 per cent in 2004,” it noted.As production and consumption of meat continue to increase worldwide, the methods of production are also changing.Industrial animal agriculture, or ‘factory farming’ is the most rapidly growing production system for pigs, chickens and beef.More than half of the world’s poultry and pork and much of the beef are produced in these intensive, inhumane and potentially hazardous conditions.Pork production reached more than 100 million tons in 2004 as demand grew for alternative meats in part due to public concern over avian flu and mad cow disease.Developing countries, especially in Asia accounted for more than 60 per cent of global pork production in 2004, up more than 50 per cent from a decade ago.Yet, annual consumption of pork is still low in developing nations at 12,3 kg per person, compared with 30 kg in industrial countries.These farms also require extensive inputs – producing eight ounces of beef requires 25 000 litres of water, for instance.As environmental and public health concerns about meat production and consumption grow, farmers, business owners, chefs and consumers are beginning to think differently about their food choices.Consumers are also demanding more grass-fed meat, milk and eggs for health reasons, grass-fed products are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol and in conjugated linoleic acid, which could block tumour growth and lower the risk of obesity and other diseases.-NampaIn China, the figure is expected to be 73 kilograms, a 55 per cent increase from 1993, while in Southeast Asia people are likely to be eating 38 per cent more meat than they do now.People in industrial countries, however, would still consume the most – nearly 90 kg a year by 2020, the equivalent of a side of beef, 50 chickens and one pig.”Beef production rose by less than one per cent and global beef trade declined by more than six per cent because of bans on imports from North America after the first reported cases of mad cow disease in the United States (US) and Canada in 2003 and 2004.Healthier livestock and the absence of the US from the market pushed meat exports in South America up by 30 per cent in 2004,” it noted.As production and consumption of meat continue to increase worldwide, the methods of production are also changing.Industrial animal agriculture, or ‘factory farming’ is the most rapidly growing production system for pigs, chickens and beef.More than half of the world’s poultry and pork and much of the beef are produced in these intensive, inhumane and potentially hazardous conditions.Pork production reached more than 100 million tons in 2004 as demand grew for alternative meats in part due to public concern over avian flu and mad cow disease.Developing countries, especially in Asia accounted for more than 60 per cent of global pork production in 2004, up more than 50 per cent from a decade ago.Yet, annual consumption of pork is still low in developing nations at 12,3 kg per person, compared with 30 kg in industrial countries.These farms also require extensive inputs – producing eight ounces of beef requires 25 000 litres of water, for instance.As environmental and public health concerns about meat production and consumption grow, farmers, business owners, chefs and consumers are beginning to think differently about their food choices.Consumers are also demanding more grass-fed meat, milk and eggs for health reasons, grass-fed products are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol and in conjugated linoleic acid, which could block tumour growth and lower the risk of obesity and other diseases.-Nampa

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