Feed humans before livestock – WWF

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Half of the UK’s wheat harvest every year  – equal to 11 billion loaves of bread – is getting used to feed livestock in an “inherently inefficient” course of that’s fuelling local weather change, a WWF report reveals.

The report exhibits the extent of farmland used to develop crops which can be getting used to feed animals as a substitute of individuals. It explores the advantages for folks, local weather and nature of utilizing extra of the UK’s arable land to develop crops for human consumption as a substitute, akin to addressing the local weather and nature crises and boosting the UK’s meals resilience.

The newest report in WWF’s Future of Feed sequence highlights the truth that dairy and meat merchandise present solely 32 p.c of energy consumed within the UK and fewer than half of protein regardless of livestock and their feed making up 85 p.c of the the nation’s agricultural land use.

Habitats

Growing crops like cereals to feed cattle accounts for a major proportion of this land use footprint, in line with the evaluation within the report.

Wheat and barley grown to feed farmed animals within the UK makes use of 2 million hectares of land – 40 p.c of the UK’s arable land space.

Wheat grown within the UK every year to feed livestock – principally chickens and pigs – makes up half of our annual wheat harvest and could be sufficient to provide almost 11 billion loaves of bread.

Oats grown within the UK to feed livestock every year makes up a 3rd of our annual oat harvest and could be sufficient to provide almost 6 billion bowls of porridge.

The UK imports giant portions of soy to feed pigs and poultry, fuelling the destruction of valuable habitats abroad, just like the Brazilian Cerrado.

Affordable

Replacing animal feeds like soy and cereal with options like grass, by-merchandise from the meals provide chain, and progressive feed elements akin to insect meal, would release land to develop meals for folks, together with excessive worth crops like fruits, greens, and nuts, and may very well be on the coronary heart of a transition to nature-pleasant regenerative agriculture.

The report recognises that this method to feeding cattle would necessitate a discount in total numbers of livestock within the UK.

Kate Norgrove, government director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF mentioned: “We can’t afford to remain locked right into a meals system that’s not match for objective, with meals costs hovering.

“Far an excessive amount of of the meals we eat is produced in methods which can be fuelling the local weather disaster and driving catastrophic nature loss, but failing to ship reasonably priced, wholesome meals for all.

Biodiversity

“To make our meals system actually shock-resistant we have to speed up a shift to sustainable manufacturing, together with rethinking the way in which we’re utilizing enormous portions of the UK’s most efficient land to develop meals for livestock as a substitute of individuals.

She added: “UK governments can future-proof our meals and produce enormous advantages for nature and local weather on the similar time by ramping up help for farmers to rework our landscapes, making house for nature in farms and forests, fields and fens.”

Focusing purely on the carbon footprint of meals manufacturing dangers fuelling agricultural intensification and masking different unfavorable environmental impacts, like air pollution from slurry or land conversion for feed manufacturing in hen farming, which may have a low carbon footprint as compared with pasture-fed beef, the report states.

It additionally highlights the significance of taking a look at a wider vary of measures to judge the environmental impression of all elements of meals manufacturing, taking account of pressures on land, water and biodiversity before drawing conclusions.

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is predicated on a press launch from WWF.

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