Jumat, 14 Oktober 2011

Increased demand for animal foods

As described in the previous section, af uence changed this consumption pattern but intakes of animal foods are badly skewed in favor of high-income populations. Industrialized nations, amounting to only a fifth of the global population total, now produce a third of hen’s eggs, two-fifths of all meat, and three-fifths of all poultry and cow’s milk. Animal foods now supply around 30% of all food energy in North America and Europe, around 20% in those East Asian countries that have reached apparent satiation levels (Japan, Taiwan) and far below 10% in the most food-deficient coun-tries of sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2001). This means, as already noted, that the daily food supply of rich nations now averages about 55g of meat and milk protein per capita, compared to just 20g in the developing world, and the actual gap is even larger for hundreds of millions of subsistence peasants and poor urbanites surviving on diets virtually devoid of any animal foods.
With meat and dairy intakes being up to an order of magnitude higher in af uent nations than in many poor countries this means that extending the current per capita supply means of developed countries (i.e., above 250 kg for milk and close to 80 kg for meat) to all of today’s low income countries (i.e., to 4.7 billion people), as well as to the additional three to four billion people that will be added in those countries dur-ing the next two generations, would call for an impossibly large expansion of feed production. The three important questions are then as follows. Should such a goal be seen as being at least theoretically desirable? What are the chances that developing countries would move as rapidly, and as far, toward the af uent (Western) consump-tion pattern as their limited resources will allow? And to what extent can we improve the prevailing feeding efficiencies?
Only the first question has an easy answer. There is no need to present a massive sur-vey of current nutritional understanding or to engage in polemics on behalf of, or against, vegetarianism, a nutritional choice that most people will not consider following voluntarily in any case, or high-level carnivory. What is abundantly clear is that humans do not need high levels of animal food intakes either to lead healthy and productive lives or to achieve average population longevities in excess of 70 years, and that no other known existential benefits are predicated on consuming at least as much meat and dairy products as the developed countries do today. Moreover, as recent experiences with some consequences of animal feeding and rearing have demonstrated (European mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth epizootic leading to large-scale slaughter of cattle and sheep, and Asian bird viruses resulting in mass killings of poultry) the scale and the very nature of meat-producing enterprises may actually be a threat to human health, or at least a costly inconvenience. In contrast to these fairly indisputable conclusions the pace and the extent of dietary transition is much harder to predict.


Posting Komentar