Science Questions

Why is the demand for meat increasing?

Sat, 20th Jun 2009

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Question

Callum, Sudbury asked:

Why is the demand for meat going to increase in the future?

Answer

We put this question to Professor Jonathan Jones:

Well, many would say, quite reasonably, that we shouldn’t increase the meat demand, but the fact is that we will.  It’s clear that China’s appetite for meat in their diet in particular is going up and up.  These are people who, from having rice seven days a week, now want have rice plus meat in one day out of seven and maybe even two days out of seven.  And so, as affluence goes up, demand for meat will go up, and I think it’s unfortunate because we could reduce our impact on the environment if we ate less meat, especially in the West.  But anyway, I think that’s what’s going to happen and a major trade pipeline is soy beans from Brazil to China to grow pigs.

And to Charlie Paton:

It must be in everybody’s interest to eat less meat and therefore, it must be in everybody’s interest to have greater biodiversity of fresh produce and that is one of the things we’re very interested in, in encouraging.

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