According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, livestock production is responsible for about 14.5% of all human greenhouse gas emissions, more than all global transport. Studies estimate that realistic changes in dietary habits, involving lower levels of meat consumption, could reduce diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40%.
Increased meat consumption, which would further stimulate industrial meat production, would have serious environmental consequences and hinder the shift, if necessary, to sustainable agricultural practices that support the full range of ecosystem services. Continued demand for meat is a key driver of deforestation, biodiversity loss, land degradation and depletion of our water resources.
Promoting meat consumption also runs counter to the urgent need to combat chronic diet-related diseases. High levels of processed and red meat consumption are associated with a variety of diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, several cancers and a high risk of overall mortality. Reducing meat consumption can play a key role in improving the health of citizens and would significantly reduce pressure on health systems.
SAFE sees no future for the European livestock sector in pursuing the objective of ever-higher consumption and production instead of supporting a fundamental reorientation of the sector towards smaller volumes. SAFE, therefore, advocates for a high quality agriculture that ensures respect for animal welfare, greater environmental sustainability, reduced emissions and a reconnection between the livestock and arable sectors.
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