The Future of Meat and Livestock

Video of IAAE session with top-notch international experts

Do we need animal-source products for healthy nutrition? Or should we better all become vegetarians or vegans to save our planet? Does the situation differ in North America, Europe, Asia, or Africa? And how can research and technology help to make the livestock sector more sustainable?

These and related questions were discussed in the session “The Future of Meat and Livestock” at the 31st Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) that took place online in August 2021. The session was co-organized by the University of Goettingen. It was chaired by Professor Lindiwe Sibanda from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and featured four presentations by experts from various disciplines, including agricultural economics, nutrition, animal science, and climate science.

In the first presentation, Professor Matin Qaim from the University of Goettingen (Germany) provided an overview of global and regional meat consumption trends and broader implications for human health and planetary health. In the second presentation, Dr. Derek Headey from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) extended the analysis with a particular focus on the association between animal-source foods and child nutritional outcomes in developing countries. In the third presentation, Professor Frank Mitloehner from the University of California at Davis (USA) concentrated on greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, how to properly calculate the climate effects of methane, and how to reduce these effects through improved technologies. In the final presentation, Professor Jessica Fanzo from Johns Hopkins University (USA) connected the various facets and discussed possible sustainable futures for meat and livestock in developed and developing countries.

The four short presentations were followed by a moderated discussion focusing on various additional aspects around the broader topic, including regional differences in livestock production, international trade, distribution, ethical issues, and implications for research and policy.

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