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The harmful environmental effects of livestock production are becoming increasingly serious at all levels–local, regional, national and global–and urgently need to be addressed, according to researchers from Stanford University, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other organizations. The researchers, representing five countries, presented their findings on Feb. 19 at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco during a symposium entitled, “Livestock in a Changing Landscape: Drivers, Consequences and Responses.”

Large-scale livestock operations provide most of the meat and meat products consumed around the world–consumption that is growing at a record pace and is projected to double by 2050, said symposium organizer Harold A. Mooney, professor of biological sciences at Stanford. “We are seeing tremendous environmental problems with these operations, from land degradation and air and water pollution to loss of biodiversity,” he said, noting that the developing world is especially vulnerable to the effects of these operations. …

According to the FAO, when emissions from land use are factored in, the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions derived from human-related activities, as well as 37 percent of methane emissions–primarily gas from the digestive system of cattle and other domesticated ruminants–and 65 percent of nitrous oxide gases, mostly from manure. => full article

Previous related blog post: Livestock generate 18 percent of world?s greenhouse gases

Read the FAO report.
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