Appetite for Destruction: Why Meat Eating Must Be Reduced

2 mins

The world is consuming more animal protein than it needs, resulting in a  devastating effect on wildlife according to a recent report from the WWF. Nick Ames has more

Meat eating is devastating some of the world’s most eco-diverse and vulnerable regions, due to the vast amount of land needed to produce animal feed, according to a new report.

An area 1.5 times the size of the European Union would be saved if global consumption of animal products was reduced to meet nutritional requirements, according to the WWF.

The new report, called Appetite for Destruction says the increasing consumption of meat and dairy products is leading to more amount of land being used for crops.

Under threat are areas including the Amazon, Congo Basin and the Himalayas, where water and land resources are already under significant pressure, the report warned.

meat eating

The Himalayas is one of the regions under threat. Image: Shutterstock

Excessive animal product consumption is responsible for 60 per cent of all biodiversity loss, according to WWF, with the UK food industry alone directly linked to the extinction of an estimated 33 species.

‘The world is consuming more animal protein than it needs and this is having a devastating effect on wildlife,’ Duncan Williamson, WWF food policy manager said.

‘A staggering 60 per cent of global biodiversity loss is down to the food we eat. We know a lot of people are aware that a meat-based diet has an impact on water and land, as well as causing greenhouse gas emissions, but few know the biggest issue of all comes from the crop-based feed the animals eat.’

Dietary guidelines recommend 45 to 55g of protein per day, yet the average person in the UK consumes between 64 and 88g, of which 37 per cent is meat-based.

If everyone on the planet reduced their meat eating in line with nutritional requirements, the total agricultural land required would decline by 13 per cent, resulting in nearly 650 million hectares being saved from agricultural production.

  • Feature Image Credit: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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