STANFORD, Calif., March 22 (UPI) -- A U.S.-led international research team says growing demand for meat is likely to have a major impact on human health and the environment in the next 50 years.
The team's report -- "Livestock in a Changing Landscape" -- says global meat production has tripled during the past three decades and could double its present level by 2050, resulting in significant human health, environmental and economic consequences.
"This is the first time that we've looked at the social, economic, health and environmental impacts of livestock in an integrated way and presented solutions for reducing the detrimental effects of the industry and enhancing its positive attributes, said Wood Institute for the Environment Professor Harold Mooney, co-editor of the two-volume report.
Among their key findings, the researchers said:
-- More than 1.7 billion animals are used in livestock production worldwide and occupy more than one-fourth of the Earth's land.
-- Production of animal feed consumes about one-third of total arable land.
-- The livestock sector, including feed production and transport, is responsible for about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Other organizations involved in the report included the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Swiss College of Agriculture, Stanford University, the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya and the World Bank.
An overview of the report is available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001591/159194e.pdf.