What’s at Steak?

The real cost of meat

Ronnie Hall and Mary Louise Malig
Global Forest Coalition
December 2016

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This report argues that the industrial livestock production model (‘factory farming’), including Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFOs) and large-scale cattle ranching for beef, are unsustainable, and are a leading cause of deforestation and climate change. Globally, beef and dairy are also the worst climate offenders, causing 41% and 20% of the total livestock sector’s greenhouse gas emissions respectively. The report shows on-the-ground impacts through case studies in five countries—Bolivia, Brazil, India, Paraguay, and Russia. For example, in South America, home to the world’s most precious tropical forests, 71% of deforestation in the region has been driven by demand for livestock products. It calls on governments to support and promote existing alternatives to the factory-farming model including agroecology, agroforestry, and extensive traditional pastoralist practices. It presents concrete recommendations for policy makers, and recommends changing consumers’ eating habits.

Filed in Food, Livestock