Solutions coming from different actors for the Meat problem

The issues present in the industrial meat industry are especially pressing in this period when developing countries continue to grow and expand their markets and adopt unsustainable production methods. China, within the Asian developing nations is of particular notoriety because of its rapidly expanding middle class, economic and environmental influence in a global scale. In view of the problems described, there have been measures taken by diverse governmental and non-governmental agencies in order to counteract some of the most harmful effects of the industry.

An influential buyer of meat, McDonalds, has taken measures to reduce some of the most criticized aspects of its distributors. Under pressure, they agreed to sign a two-year agreement not to buy soy from Brazil’s deforested land, and also promised to expand cages for hens and abstain from the practice of starving them in order for them to lay more eggs. A number of other fast food chains have promised to take similar steps to make slaughterhouses more bearable for animals.

There are a number of efforts from other non-profit organizations such as Heifer international that are trying to find alternative more sustainable ways of producing meat. Heifer international helps small livestock farmers in developing countries stay in business, by directly acting in communities and finding ways to fund the construction of slaughter houses and educating producers and consumers about the benefits of locally produced meat. Helping small livestock farmers maintain a market for their products is a crucial part of the project as well.

In the efforts to conserve genetic variety for the future, the leaders of traditional pastoral communities, non-governmental groups and governmental representatives in 2003 signed the Karen commitment for the protection of animal genetic  resources from patenting  signed in Kenya.

In 2001, the World Bank reversed its previous commitment to fund large-scale livestock projects in developing nations. In its new livestock strategy, the bank stated “there is a significant danger that the poor are being crowded out, the environment eroded, and global food safety and security threatened.” It has promised to use a “people centered” approach to livestock development projects that will reduce poverty, protect environmental sustainability, ensure food security, and promote animal welfare.

This turnout did not happen out of a sudden visit from the consciousness fairy, but rather from the fact that large-scale intensive animal production methods the World Bank once advocated fro are proving to be too costly. Past policies drove out smallholders because economies of large scale do not internalize the environmental costs of producing meat. The Bank’s new strategy includes integrating livestock-environment interactions into environmental impact assessments, correcting regulatory distortions that favor large producers, and promoting development of markets for organic products.

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