Here we have collected our sources for these pages and useful material to help you find out more about the issue.

Downloadable reports

On Meat Substitutes (2020)

A Slow Food’s research into the world of meat substitutes. Few companies today share the market, making big profits with the lab-cultivation of plant or animal cells. How are they produce the meat substitutes? Who finances the research on these products? Will cultivated meat be able to save the world in the midst of a climate crisis?
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Analysis of the life cycle and carbon footprint of slow food presidium products with Indaco2 (2017)

This report presents the results yielded by the LCA Life Cycle Assessments conducted by Indaco2 on a number of Slow Food Presidia from 2013 to 2017. The Presidia in question are involved in the agri-food and animal husbandry sectors and include for example: rearing and products of native breeds of cow, i.e. Maremmana and Piemontese, pigs, i.e. Mora Romagnola, and poultry, i.e. Alsace Black Chicken; rearing of cattle and sheep for cheese production, i.e. Vastedda, Macagn, Caciocavallo Podolico; rearing of poultry for egg production.
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Meat and Seafood Production & Consumption

Global meat production has increased rapidly over the past 50 years – as seen below, total production has grown 4-5 fold since 1961. The chart below shows global meat production by region, measured in tonnes. Regionally, Asia is the largest meat producer, accounting for around 40-45 percent of total meat production. This regional distribution has changed significantly in recent decades. In 1961, Europe and North America were the dominant meat producers, accounting for 42 and 25 percent, respectively. In 1961, Asia produced only 12 percent. By 2013, Europe and North America’s share had fallen to 19 and 15 percent, respectively. This reduction in production share was despite a large increase in production in absolute terms: Europe’s meat output has approximately doubled over this period, whilst North American output has increase 2.5-fold. Production increases in Asia, however, have been staggering: meat production has increased 15-fold since 1961. Absolute increases in production in other regions have also been substantial, with output in all regions (with exception to the Caribbean which approximately tripled) growing more than 5-fold over this period.

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Soil Atlas 2015

The soil seems to be inexhaustible. It is just there, beneath our feet. Under the fields, grass and trees. We live on and from the soil, but we pay it scant attention. A few wine lovers say that each soil has its own bouquet, but how many of us can actually taste it? When we sit down to dine, who thinks of the soil where most of our food grows? It is important to do exactly that. Soils are the basis of our food production. They supply plants with nutrients and water. Those nutrients are an ingredient in every potato, every loaf of bread, every grain of rice and every plate of cornmeal we eat – and in every pork chop and roast chicken too. Without healthy soils, it is not possible to produce healthy food.

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European Slow Food Member Survey on Animal Welfare and Meat Consumption, 2013
Animal welfare is a topic that deeply concerns Slow Food members, who reveal what ”good, clean and fair” meat means to them.
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Animal Biodiversity
«The diversity of livestock and crop variety can be considered a dictionary of sorts, thanks to which it is possible to adequately answer the needs of the great diversity of territories…». Wendell Berry
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The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, 2015
Animal genetic resource diversity underpins the supply livestock products and services across a wide range of production environments. It promotes resilience and serves as a basis for adapting livestock management to changing conditions. It is vital to the livelihoods of many of the world’s poor people. It can contribute to the delivery of ecosystem services such as landscape management and the maintenance of wildlife habitats. However, it is often undervalued, underused and under threat.
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Meat Atlas. Facts and figures about the animals we eat, Friends of the Earth Europe and Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2021
This report gives a global perspective of the impact of industrial meat and dairy production and proves how devastating they are to society and the environment. It is necessary for us to radically rethink our consumption.
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For all studies, reports and documents published by the FAO on this topic click here.


Christopher Leonard, The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business, 2014
A book that talks, on one hand, about small-scale producers squashed by today’s economies of scale and, on the other, of the giants of the industry that generated them.

Philip Lymbery, Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat, 2014
From China to Argentina, Lymbery investigates farm animals in the context of the global food industry. This book was written to educate eaters and consumers on the true cost of cheap meat as well as present solutions for more sustainable farming practices.

Nicolette Hahn Niman, Defending Beef: The case for sustainable meat production, 2014
Far from being inherently bad for the earth and our health, cattle may play a pivotal role in sustainable agriculture. Niman argues that dispersed, grass-fed, small-scale farms can and should become the basis for American food production and replace the factory farms that are harming animals as well as the environment.

Patrick Martins, The Carnivore’s Manifesto, 2014
A provocative and entertaining read that lays out concrete actions consumers can take in order to be both meat eaters and part of the movement for sustainable food.

Adam Danforth, Butchering: The comprehensive photographic guide to humane slaughtering and butchering, 2014
Two volumes, one focusing on cattle and the other on small livestock and poultry, give detailed instructions for those who raise their own animals or would like to purchase whole animals from small farmers. Danforth’s expertise is remarkable, yet accessible for the beginner.

Maureen Ogle, In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America, 2013
Well-documented research into the modern meat industry, composed of many chapters that each highlight separate issues whilst still creating a coherent narrative.

Melanie Joy, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, 2012
By interviewing protagonists of the meat industry, analysing the details of its profits and the costs of its environmental disasters, the author sheds light on the collateral effects on the ”other” victims: those who work in intensive farms and the hell that is an industrial slaughterhouse; consumers increasingly exposed to risks of contamination and disease; the environment itself and the future of our planet.

Jocelyne Porcher, Vivere con gli animali, 2011
What is breeding? Is there a difference between “livestock production”? What damage do industrialised systems do? Will it be necessary to free animals, as many philosophers and fundamentalists maintain? In answering these questions, the author explains how people’s ability to coexist peacefully depends on their ability to live worthily and in peace with animals. And because saving breeding from its subjugation to industrial systems can be one of the most beautiful utopias of the 21st century.

Howard F. Lyman, Mad Cowboy. Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat, 2011
Coming from a long line of farmers, Lyman, having been diagnosed with a tumour, carries out research on the use of chemicals in agriculture. Having become vegetarian, he claims that diets mainly based on products of animal origin are the main cause of tumours, cardiac disease and obesity, and negatively impact the environment.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals, 2010
Influenced by the ideas of his Grandmother and having just become a father, the author undertook research lasting nearly three years, which takes him inside industrial farms and pushes him to talk about the violence endured by animals, the harmful medical treatments they undergo and the way they are killed to become our daily meal.

Simon Fairlie, Meat: A Benign Extravagance, 2010
This book asks the question: should we be farming animals or not? The answer is not simple. Indeed, we must decrease the amount of meat we eat (both for the planet and for ourselves), and the industrial meat system is hugely problematic, but Simon Fairlie presents in-depth research in favor of small-scale, holistic, and integrated farming systems that include pastured, free-range livestock as the answer to the pro-meat or no-meat debate. It is a well-researched look at agricultural and environmental theory from a remarkable writer and farmer, and excels where other books on vegetarianism and veganism have fallen short in their global scope.

Deborah Krasner, Good Meat: the complete guide to sourcing and cooking sustainable meat, 2010
Now that most cooks are used to the meat from factory-farmed animals, we are loosing the skills to cook grassfed beef, pastured pork and free range poultry. Sustainably raised meat has a complex flavor unlike any other when prepared well, and this beautiful cookbook provides instruction to those who would like to learn how to make the most of it.

Tom Regan, Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals, 2009
Defined as the ”best introduction to the problem of animal rights that has ever been written”, this book opposes the negative image given to animal rights advocates by the media, and brings to light the dishonest rhetoric of ”humane treatment”, supported by those who exploit animals in a variety of environments, while explaining how current legislation is designed to encourage institutionalized cruelty.

Peter Singer, Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement, 2009
Right from its publication in 1975, Animal Liberation became the key work for the animal rights movement. It exposed the horrendous suffering that food and cosmetic industries impose on animals to millions of people. It convinced entire generations that ending the exploitation of other species and experimenting with new systems of food production is an immediate necessity, for the survival of humans and the Earth too.

Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 2008
What do we eat, and why? These are questions we ask ourselves every day, convinced that it is sufficient just to skim through the paper or listen to the advice of a fancy nutritionist on tv. But if we look at these questions more closely, as Michael Pollan does with great attention, the answers appear less obvious. For further reads by the same author, take a look at In Defense of Food, 2009.

Peter Singer and Jim Mason, The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter, 2007
Many people are unaware that simple daily purchases can have a devastating effect on the environment, the condition of workers and the treatment of animals in industrial farms. In order to clearly illustrate the ethical and social consequences of these choices, the authors have carried out extenstive research and offer some useful tips for choosing products that cause the least suffering possible to other beings.

Gay Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry, 2006
A book for everyone, not just those who have embraced vegetarianism, on the power of big industries and institutional innefficiency in the creation of policies that can really change the current state of affairs.

J.M Coetzee, The Lives of Animals, 2003
Elizabeth Costello, an elderly and acclaimed author, manages to wreak havoc amongst all the wise academics, starting with her son, a physics professor in a ”politically correct” university city, where she has been invited to present one of her books. She will instead talk about the ”lives of animals” and how they are mistreated by humans, leaving her audience stunned and embarassed.

Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, 2002
The author presents shocking facts and data from a range of disciplines to support his condemnation of “meat culture” which dominates the West and is responsible for a great number of illnesses, environmental imbalances and stripping great quantities of grain from human consumption.

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, 1906
Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian, has just arrived in the USA with his family, drawn by the promises of the American Dream. In Chicago he finds a job in the slaughterhouse area where immigrant workers are broken to pieces, destroyed both physically and morally. After a series of grim experiences, Jurgis alone will become aware of his condition and find the path to salvation.

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