‘Meat is part of a sustainable world’: Professor Louise Fresco

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Professor Louise Fresco (President of the Executive Board, Wageningen University & Research) argues that taking meat out of the food system is not the solution.

The future of the world will be characterized by eating less meat as we shift towards flexitarian and reductionist diets. However, meat should remain as part of a sustainable food system. Fresco highlights the valid point that grazing animals utilize land that cannot be used for anything else, converting inedible plants into valuable food. Nutrient-rich meat also becomes increasingly important, particularly with the aging population.

This is consistent with results from testing food production scenarios with and without meat for their ability to provide adequate nutrition for the global population, using the DELTA model. Key micro-nutrient requirements such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12 cannot adequately be sourced for the global population without the inclusion of animal-derived foods in the food supply system. In other words, animal-derived foods are necessary to nourish the global population. Meat, as well as dairy, should continue to be a part of our diets. However, effort must be made to ensure it is produced in the most sustainable way. This increases the pressure for research to reduce on-farm emissions, reduce water usage and improve water quality, and increase productivity from animal agriculture.

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