By no means let a disaster go to waste, they are saying. The Russian army invasion of Ukraine has instantly sparked alarmist statements from the animal agriculture trade concerning the severe threats that this conflict will pose to meals safety in Europe and past.
Right away got here the calls to re-evaluate and even altogether shelve the environmental goals of each the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Methods.
Nobody denies that the brutal conflict in Ukraine will impression the provision of wheat, maise, sunflower seeds, and sunflower oil for each meals and feed to the EU and exports of EU agricultural merchandise, notably of meat to meat our Jap neighbours.
However it’s past cynical to see that this battle serves as an excuse to delay or curtail the essential transformation to our meals system that’s urgently wanted to halt the lack of biodiversity and fight local weather change.
International warming is not going to all of a sudden decelerate and wait till the Russians lay down their arms. With out decisive motion to scale back greenhouse fuel emissions and defend biodiversity, the impression on each individuals and ecosystems shall be catastrophic and irreversible.
The problem of meals safety is, after all, a delicate one. No-one desires to see meals costs undergo the roof, shortages of staple foodstuffs or individuals, usually probably the most susceptible, going hungry.
But one query is much more essential now: how a lot of the cereals and oilseed that we produce and import is destined straight for human consumption.
In keeping with the European Fee’s knowledge, round two-thirds of EU cereal manufacturing and 70 % of oilseed manufacturing is meant for animal feed – this isn’t practically sufficient to feed the billions of livestock which are stored for meat, dairy and egg manufacturing within the EU.
We additionally complement this by importing tens of millions of tonnes of soybean meal yearly, primarily from the commercial monocultures which have destroyed rainforests in Latin America. Round 95 % of those imports feed livestock reasonably than straight feeding individuals.
Utilizing cereals and legumes to feed livestock is an extremely inefficient and wasteful means of manufacturing protein. It could take round 20kg of feed to make only one kilo of beef. Feed conversion charges range between species, however there may be nothing extra environment friendly than straight feeding individuals with these plant-based proteins.
If we’re severe about defending meals safety, we must be speaking about prioritising meals for individuals reasonably than feeding for the extreme numbers of livestock exploited for meals manufacturing.
My very own nation, the Netherlands, supplies a shameful instance of how the intensive animal agriculture trade in a rustic can far exceed the meals wants of its populace. Certainly, the trade primarily focuses on export markets for its merchandise, similar to pigmeat.