Renewed fears voiced by the United Nations (UN) about worldwide population growth have coincided with inter- national concern about the increased consumption of meat. The premise of this concern is generally framed along the lines of the following narrative (assembled from reports issued by the UN-affiliated organizations):
By 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion. Nearly all of this population increase will occur in developing countries. Urbanization will continue at an accelerated pace…. Income levels will be many multiples of what they are now.1 Urbanization is a major driving force influencing global demand for livestock products.2 In developing countries, demand [for meat] is predicted to grow faster than production, resulting in a growing trade deficit.3 Urgent investments, major agricultural research efforts and robust governance are required to ensure that the world’s livestock sector responds to a growing demand for animal products and at the same time contributes to poverty reduction, food security, environmental sustainability and human health.