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Getting the measure of meat

As the pressures grow to reduce meat production and consumption, is growing ‘fake meat’ in a laboratory part of the solution?

In recent months, report has followed report from the world of academia urging us to reduce meat consumption in the interests of the planet. During June and July reports were published by Exeter, Manchester and Edinburgh universities, all ending up with similar recommendations for the pursuit of more sustainable lifestyles.
Although each report acknowledged there were a variety of complex factors at work, as we have seen, the media are often quick off the mark to distil these into a headline message of ‘eat less meat’.

In this fairly hostile atmosphere, it is vital that the meat industry draws attention to their achievements to date in reducing their environmental impacts as well as laying out their detailed plans for future improvements.

The recent report published by the International Meat Secretariat ('Pigs and the Environment') clearly laid out what actions the pork industries across the world are taking to improve their environmental profiles. In the case of Denmark, this has included impressive achievements in the areas of better feed efficiency and slurry management, with clear goals in place for the years ahead.

The UN Food & Agriculture Organisation recently announced a new project to harmonise the measurement of livestock’s environmental impacts, via a new partnership between the IMS and several other interested parties. This work will ultimately enable a more objective assessment of the environmental impacts which will hopefully underpin the direction of future policy within the international trade in livestock products.

On a more futuristic note, the production of meat in laboratories is increasingly being highlighted as possibly part of future strategies to reduce production of meat by the time-honoured ways – as discussed in the recent article in the Guardian.

In the shorter term, given the imperative to reduce waste and improve recycling processes within the meat industry, how about the EU Commission reversing its illogical stance on the use of 'desinewed meat' in meat product manufacture?

 
 ‘Tomorrow's meat?‘