Archivos Latinoamericanos de Producción Animal, Vol 23, No 6 (2015)

Tamaño de la letra:  Pequeña  Mediana  Grande

The challenge of increasing production of the animal sector while reducing its environmental footprint

Philippe Chemineau


Associated with a continuous decrease in the number of hungry people, studies looking at future trends predict an increase of world population over the next 30 years. These demographic changes are related to an increase in their buying power, essentially in emerging countries such as China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and to a lesser extent Africa. This increased population with more money to spend will provoke a dramatic increase in animal product consumption (meat, milk and fish) in these emerging countries. At the same time, industrial countries will probably reduce their meat consumption per capita for a variety of reasons, which, coincident with stagnation of their population growth, will probably lead to decreased meat consumption in these countries. Simultaneously, the demand for animal products with high nutritional, organoleptic and « ethic » qualities will increase all over the world. This « ethic » quality is a new concept coming from old Europe and is related to livestock production in specific areas where the conditions of production, i.e. use of local feeds of known origin, respect of animal welfare, reduced use of antibiotics, reduced environmental footprint, etc., are considered to be a significant part of product quality, which adds, rather than substitutes, to their organoleptic and nutritional values. This concept has emerged in Europe where the environmental footprint of livestock farming systems is now obvious, at either a global (essentially via Green House Gases (GHG) emissions), a regional (Ammonia in the air), or at a local scale (Nitrates in water and manure odours). These global and local challenges can be, and should be, tackled at both global and local levels. I will develop below the examples of GHG emissions and of the use of antibiotics, but the same rationale could be used for other externalities.

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