How much meat can our planet support? Study provides information – healing practice

How much meat can be produced sustainably?

we eat too much meat and damage what is ours Health and the environment. In addition, we take for consumption animal suffering in purchase But how much meat is too much and how much could be produced sustainably? A new study provides answers.

researchers of Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn evaluated various aspects of meat consumption to explore how much meat could be sustainably produced on our planet. The results are presented in the journal “Annual Review of Resource Economics.”

The real price of meat.

On average, each inhabitant of the European Union consumes around 80 kilograms of meat per year. However, the real price of meat is not paid in the supermarket, but in the form of Impact on health, the environment and the economy and the way the animals are kept.

Should we all give up meat now? The short answer is no. According to a recent study, a certain amount could Fairly sustainable meat to be produced. Ideally, however, meat production would have to be converted for this at least 75 percent be lowered

Consequences of mass meat production

Meat is one of the most expensive foods to produce. The Federal Reserve Calories are only partially converted by cattle.meaning that a disproportionate amount of land is required for meat production.

In addition, ruminants produce significant amounts of methanethat accelerated global warming. Last but not least, according to current nutrition studies, the predominant consumption of meat is unhealthy and promotes numerous chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Europe and North America are leaders in meat consumption

The conclusion is that we are paying for meat with serious consequences for the ecosystem. “If all people consumed as much meat as Europeans or North Americans, we would not meet climate goals and many ecosystems would collapse”warns study author Professor Dr. Matin Qayim.

“The war in Ukraine and the resulting bottlenecks for grain on the world market also show very clearly that less grain must be fed to animals to ensure global nutrition.”adds the teacher. Around half of world cereal production is currently at cattle feeders.

“Therefore, we must significantly reduce our consumption, ideally for 20 kg or less per yearconcludes Dr. Martin Parlasca of the study team. According to him, meat consumption does not have to be demonized across the board. Certainly there are concepts with which Sustainably and sensibly produced meat can be.

“We can’t eat grass”

For example, this grassland suitable, in which nothing else grows. “We can’t eat grass, but ruminants can”, poses Dr. Parlasca outside. Those areas could sensibly be used for meat production.

According to the working group, there are no environmental objections to careful grazing with fewer animals. “So if the grasslands have no other use, it makes sense to raise cattle on them.”according to Parlaska.

Meat can be part of a healthy diet

Some poor regions are also high-quality protein of animal origin dependent, since vegetable protein sources such as legumes cannot be grown year-round. “In such cases, animals are often a key element of healthy nutrition”Parlasca clarifies.

But even in such regions, meat is less common on the menu than it is in Western industrialized nations. According to the research team, it is mainly the rich countries that would have to drastically reduce meat consumption.

Meat consumption has hardly decreased

Until now, there has been little sign of this development in supermarkets. Of the Meat consumption has increased in Europe in recent years despite a greater number of vegetarians not significantly reduced.

Who bears the hidden costs of meat production?

In addition, meat production is increasing. Hidden costs implies that they are not covered by consumers.

If the costs of repairing the damage that meat consumption causes to ecosystems were included, the Meat prices skyrocket.

“We have to be more sensitive”

The researchers suggest that the problem of meat consumption be included more as a topic in schools and that teachers be better trained in this regard. “We need to become more sensitive to the global impact of our decisions”Qaim finally points out. (verb)

Author and source of information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by medical professionals.


Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn: Meat consumption must fall by at least 75 percent (published: April 25, 2022),
  • Martin C Parlasca, Matin Qaim: Meat Consumption and Sustainability; in: Resource Economics Annual Review (2022),

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.


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