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Reports Challenge Meat Industry Expansion Claims

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The disruption of the 'cow' is not going to happen for climate, ethical or environmental reasons. It’s going to happen for purely economic reasons and it’s going to happen despite governments.

SOPHIE KEVANY: ‘Meat industry forecasts of rising demand are being challenged by new reports that see the future of animal-derived proteins as limited to bleak. Several signs of slowing consumption are listed in the first report, presented to the September 23rd UN Climate Action Summit in New York. A second report, published the same month, predicts the US cattle industry will be decimated by direct competition from precision fermented foods made from micro-organisms.

Describing global food production as the “single largest human pressure on Earth”, the report presented to the UN documents shifts away from meat in Europe, the US, and China. Entitled Exponential Roadmap: Scaling 36 Solutions To Halve Emissions by 2030, the report is backed by the World Wildlife Fund and Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson, among others.

Starting in the US, it points to research showing about 60% of Americans cutting back on meat products, along with a steep drop of 19% in beef consumption between 2005 and 2014… Turning to the UK, the report said a recent survey shows 28% of meat-eaters reducing consumption… More dramatically, the report says China’s government aims to halve meat consumption by 2030. Given that the country consumes almost 30% of the world’s meat, that could mean a 12% drop in global agricultural emissions…

As the title suggests, the report offers 36 solutions that, if implemented, should halve emissions by 2030 in six focus areas: energy, industry, digital industry, buildings, transport, and food consumption. Top of the food solutions list is plant-centric eating… If 40% of the global population switched to the Planetary style diets by 2030, and 75% by 2050, total food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could stay within the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C…

The second report sees 50% of America’s cattle disappearing by 2030. Other livestock industries will suffer a similar fate due to rapid advances in micro-organism (cells, yeasts, bacteria, and fungi) fermentation to produce milk, meat and other proteins outside the macro animal organism. Written by technology disruption think tank, RethinkX, the report’s title is long but self-explanatory: Rethinking Food and Agriculture 2020-2030: The Second Domestication of Plants and Animals, the Disruption of the Cow, and the Collapse of Industrial Livestock Farming.

As the most inefficient and economically vulnerable part of this system, it said, cattle farming will be the first to feel the modern food’s disruptive power… “Cows are constrained by biology and economics,” said RethinkX co-founder and report co-author, Tony Seba… By 2030, it said, micro-organism foods will be healthier, less wasteful, more convenient and cost far less to produce as animal equivalents… Asked whether animal rights would play a role in the transformation, Seba said no. “The disruption of the cow is not going to happen for climate, ethical or environmental reasons. It’s going to happen for purely economic reasons and it’s going to happen despite governments”.’  SOURCE…

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