The Meat Crisis: Developing More Sustainable Production and Consumption (Paperback) book cover

The Meat Crisis

Developing More Sustainable Production and Consumption

Edited by Joyce D'Silva, John Webster

© 2011 – Routledge

328 pages

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Paperback: 9781844079032
pub: 2010-08-25
Hardback: 9781844079025
pub: 2010-08-25

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Meat and dairy production and consumption are in crisis. Globally sixty billion farm animals are used for food production every year. It is well accepted that methane emissions from cattle and other livestock are major contributors to greenhouse gas levels and to climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) predicts a rough doubling of meat and milk consumption by 2050, with particularly rapid growth occurring in the developing economies of Asia. This could raise the number of farm animals used annually to nearer 120 billion. What will this mean for the health and wellbeing of those animals, of the people who consume ever larger quantities of animal products, and for the health of the planet itself? This powerful and challenging book explores these issues surrounding the global growth in the production and consumption of meat and dairy animals and products, including cultural and health factors, and the implications of the likely intensification of farming for both small-scale producers and for the animals. Several chapters explore the related environmental issues, from resource use of water, cereals and soya, to the impact of livestock production on global warming and issues concerning biodiversity, land use and the impacts of different farming systems on the environment. A final group of chapters addresses ethical and policy implications for the future of food and livestock production and consumption. The overall message is clearly that we must eat less meat to help secure a more sustainable and equitable world.


'This book contains truths too important to dismiss, too frightening to ignore.' Joanna Lumley, actress and campaigner 'Anyone who likes to eat and is concerned about the planet should read this visionary book.' Lester R. Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization 'This book makes both enthralling and chilling reading. When you put it down, you will be in no doubt as to why factory farming is so unsustainable, not just for the animals, but for the health and survival of both humanity and the planet.' Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive, Compassion in World Farming

'The Meat Crisis: Developing More Sustainable Production and Consumption makes a compelling case for realigning our relationship with animals and meat. The book considers this question from multiple perspectives and leaves the reader with no doubt about the need to change our connection to meat and the opportunities this offers.' -Alison Blay-Palmer, Journal of Planning Education and Research

Table of Contents

Foreword. Contributors. Introduction Part 1: The Impacts of Animal Farming on the Environment 1. How to Raise Livestock – and How Not To 2. The Water Footprint of Animal Products 3. Livestock and Climate Change 4. Industrial Livestock Production and Biodiversity 5. Does Organic Farming Offer a Solution? Part 2: Farming Practices and Animal Welfare 6. Food from the Dairy – Husbandry Regained? 7. Cracking the Egg 8. Cheap as Chicken 9. Sustainable Pig Production: Finding Solutions and Making Choices Part 3: The Implications of Meat Production for Human Health 10. Industrial Animal Agriculture's Role in the Emergence and Spread of Disease 11. Environmentally Sustainable and Equitable Meat Consumption in a Climate Change World 12. How Much Meat and Milk is Optimal for Health? Part 4: Ethical and Religious Approaches to Animal Foods 13. Developing Ethical, Sustainable and Compassionate Food Policies 14. Religion, Culture and Diet Part V: Devising Farming and Food Policies for a Sustainable Future 15. Policy Strategies for a Sustainable Food System: Options for Protecting the Climate 16. Meat and Policy: Charting a Course through the Complexity 17. Confronting Policy Dilemmas. Index

About the Editors

Joyce D'Silva has worked for Compassion in World Farming since 1985, including fourteen years as Chief Executive. She lectures internationally and has published widely on farm animal welfare, including co-editing 'Animals, Ethics and Trade' (Earthscan, 2006). John Webster is Professor Emeritus at the University of Bristol, UK. He was a founder member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council and is a former President of both the Nutrition Society and the British Society for Animal Science. Currently he is a member of the Animal Health and Welfare panel for the European Food Safety Authority. His books include 'Understanding the Dairy Cow', 'Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye towards Eden', and 'Animal Welfare: Limping towards Eden', plus approximately 300 scientific and technical publications.

About the Series

Earthscan Food and Agriculture

Earthscan Food and Agriculture
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to food and agriculture, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Tim Hardwick, Senior Commissioning Editor (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / Animal Husbandry