International organization Friends of the Earth and the Foundation. Heinrich Belle conducted research on the consumption of meat and dairy products.
The authors of a new study found that meat consumption in the world has more than doubled over the past 20 years: in 2018, this figure reached 320 million tons. Consumption is expected to grow by another 13% by 2028. This is due to the increase in the population of the Earth.
In order to support demand, producers are expanding pastures: cutting down forests, draining swamps and peatlands, which exacerbates climate change, leads to soil degradation, decreases biodiversity and ultimately harms people themselves, the authors of the study emphasize.
Most meat is consumed in Australia, the USA and Argentina: one person eats 100 kg of meat a year. In Russia and China – 60–80 kg per year. The lowest consumption of meat is in India, where no more than 20 kg per person per year are consumed.
In addition, China is the largest producer of pork – 50.5 million tons per year, the United States is the largest producer of poultry meat – 21.8 million tons per year and beef – 11.8 million tons per year.
As a result, the five largest meat producers produce 578 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, more than oil and gas companies Exxon, Shell, or BP.
Researchers urge to reduce the consumption and production of meat, as well as to strengthen government control over this industry.