Sustainable livestock futures: What are the roles of plant-based diets and in vitro meat?
Mexico Room (D211), Thursday 6 June, 10:00-11:30
UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome Italy
The global livestock sector is under the spotlight amid growing concerns over its impacts on health and the environment. Ministers at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) last year discussed a sustainable future for livestock under four thematic areas: (a) food and nutrition security; (b) livelihoods and economic growth; (c) animal health and welfare; and (d) climate and natural resource use. Whilst there are many ways to enhance the sustainability of livestock, one approach is to reduce the numbers of livestock in the world. To this end, there are many proponents of a movement toward more plant-based diets and there has been considerable investment in researching the production of in vitro meat.
A group of nine students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University – members of the Dean’s Global Agriculture and Food Leadership Program – have worked diligently over the past six months to research the topics of plant-based diets and in vitro meat with a focus on the sustainability of the global livestock sector. They have explored the potential opportunities, challenges and trade-offs associated with these alternatives to livestock production and conventional meat consumption. In two groups, the students have reviewed their respective topics through the four lenses of sustainability in the GFFA framework. The students have spent the last four weeks in Rome, where they have met regularly with FAO’s Livestock Production and Health Division to discuss the topics. During this final presentation of their findings the discussion will include the motivations for the pursuit of alternatives to conventional meat, and the sustainability of moving away from conventional meat on a global scale.