The illusory promise of the livestock revolution

Meatification of diets, industrial animal farms and global food security

FDCL - Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America

Berlin, January 2014



The recent worsening of the global food crisis, which had been sparked by sharply rising and extremely volatile food prices in 2007-2008, triggered a heated debate about its potential drivers. Among the factors singled out commodity speculation and the growing diversion of crops to biofuels ranked high on the list of suspected culprits. Yet, the long-time trend of increasingly ‘meaty’ diets driven by industrial livestock production received far less  attention, although the channeling of enormous amounts of cereals and oilseeds into feed troughs represents an important share of global harvests and is known to be a highly inefficient way of using plant protein and the land needed to grow these crops.