In the second half of the 20th century, global meat consumption increased fivefold, growing from 45 million tonnes of meat consumed in 1950 to almost 300 million tonnes today. If nothing changes, this figure is set to double by 2050…

The average consumption of meat today in industrialized countries is around 80 kilograms per person per year, compared to an average of 20 kg per person per year in Africa (and as little as 6 kg/person/year in some countries in the Sahel).

Friend of the Earth Europe 2014, Meat Atlas
Source: Friend of the Earth Europe 2014, Meat Atlas

In recent years, meat consumption has not only remained high in America and Europe, but has grown consistently in China, India, and those countries where a wealthy middle class is emerging along with rapid population growth. Meat consumption in China has grown approximately 15-fold in the last 50 years.

If the populations from China, India, and Brazil, for instance, continue to consume meat at these rates, there soon won’t be sufficient land surface to feed all the necessary livestock.

Continuing to consume meat at current Western rates is unsustainable.

What kind of meat do we eat?

* Figures obtained from the Meat Atlas
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