Between 1990 and 2007, meat consumption in the world went from 143 million tons to 271 million tons. It therefore nearly doubled in 15 years (1). It could double again by 2050 (2) Consumption is particularly increasing in developing countries because their populations are rising and because their diet is evolving - populations that are sometimes undernourished or malnourished now have access to richer diets. Today, it can go up to about 30 kg of meat a year per inhabitant, compared to 80 kilos in industrialised countries. (3)
Animal husbandry requires large surfaces: it is the human activity which uses the most land. According to the FAO, pastures take up 26 per cent of the Earth's land surface whilst fodder production requires about a third of arable land. (4) In arid areas, overgrazing particularly favours soil erosion.
Extensive animal husbandry is the main cause of deforestation in Ame...