AN article in the Nature Food journal published this week highlights the crucial societal role that meat and other animal source foods will continue to play in our foreseeable future.
The article draws attention to the fact that 1077 international scientists now have endorsed the recently published Dublin Declaration.
The charter was initiated after an international summit in Dublin on October 19th and 20th, 2022, during which scientists discussed the societal role of meat. At this summit, a consortium of scientists concluded that our livestock farming systems are too valuable to be lost due to policymaking lacking a solid scientific foundation.
The initiative was co-founded by Professor in Food Science and Biotechnology Frédéric Leroy, who also co-authored the Nature Food article.
“This declaration sends a powerful signal to governments and consumers worldwide,” he said.
Today’s food systems face an unprecedented double challenge. There is a call to increase the availability of livestock derived foods (meat, dairy, eggs) to help satisfy the unmet nutritional needs of an estimated three billion people, for whom nutrient deficiencies contribute to stunting, wasting, anaemia, and other forms of malnutrition.
At the same time, some methods and scale of animal production systems present challenges with regards to biodiversity, climate change and nutrient flows, as well as animal health and welfare within a broad One Health approach. With strong population growth concentrated largely
among socioeconomically vulnerable and urban populations in the world, and where much of the populace depends on livestock for livelihoods, supply and sustainability challenges grow exponentially and advancing evidence-based solutions becomes ever more urgent.
The Nature Food article argues that “If the urgency for action is high, a view we share, then it is not the best option to do something actionistic with poorly understood consequences, but to step up the research and develop better solutions. The Dublin Declaration is a call to all scientists to keep up the discovery — and to have a sincere debate.”
Professor Frédéric Leroy adds: “Our livestock farming systems are too valuable to reject or radically minimize, that is why the Dublin Declaration came into existence. The fact that it has already been signed by more than 1000 scientists from all corners of the world sends a powerful message to governments and consumers. Scientific evidence remains of paramount importance for achieving a
balanced view of the future of animal agriculture.”
A message from the United Nations
The last paragraph of the Dublin Declaration was taken from the text of the 2021 UN Food System Summit final documentation on Sustainable Livestock. It reads: “Human civilization has been built on livestock from initiating the bronze-age more than 5000 years ago toward being the bedrock of food security for modern societies today. Livestock is the millennial-long proven method to create healthy
nutrition and secure livelihoods, a wisdom deeply embedded in cultural values everywhere. Sustainable livestock will also provide solutions for the additional challenge of today, to stay within the safe operating zone of planet Earth’s boundaries, the only Earth we have.”
Source: Nature Foods
- Beef Central’s James Nason was at the Dublin Declaration meeting and you can read some of his article here.