Going Green

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Meat in Developing Countries

As affluence increases, diets change. People want a little meat in their diets in spite of what the Vegans and PETA have to say.

Livestock producers should invest more in biosecurity and disease monitoring

17 September 2007,
Rome - Global animal food production is undergoing a major transformation that could lead to a higher risk of disease transmission from animals to humans, FAO warned today.

“The risk of disease transmission from animals to humans will increase in the future due to human and livestock population growth, dynamic changes in livestock production, the emergence of worldwide agro-food networks and a significant increase in the mobility of people and goods,” FAO said in a policy brief (Industrial Livestock Production and Global Health Risks).

“There is no doubt that the world has to depend upon some of the technologies of intensive animal food production systems,” said FAO livestock policy expert Joachim Otte.

“But excessive concentration of animals in large scale industrial production units should be avoided and adequate investments should be made in heightened biosecurity and improved disease monitoring to safeguard public health,” he added.

More affluence – higher meat consumption

As countries have become more affluent...

The United States has the most advanced production agriculture in the world -- especially when it comes to meat production. Poultry, swine and cattle are fed in confined situations where the highest quality meats can be produced. Confined feeding can be safer than "free-roaming" animals. In a confined situation diets are controlled very closely (have you ever seen a pig eating garbage? -- how about a cow?). Diseases are monitored and treated continuously. Manure is captured and either composted, used as fertilizer, or in growing frequency, being used as fuel.

One of the keys to creating "safe" confined animal feeding facilities in developing countries will be the regulation and control of antibiotic and growth promotant usage. Drug residues in meats, and antibiotic resistance due to improper use are definitely issues.

Location of such facilities also must be regulated. Uncontrolled runoff into water sources can create serious health risks to human populations. However, any control of what gets into water in many of the developing countries will be a step up from the current state of affairs.

"The movement of animals and the concentration of thousands of confined animals increase the likelihood of transfer of pathogens. Furthermore, confined animal houses produce large amounts of waste, which may contain substantial quantities of pathogens. Much of this waste is disposed of on land without any treatment, posing an infection risk for wild mammals and birds."

The greater risk in most of the countries that will be affected by this is from lack of human waste sanitation.

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