Are we eating less meat?—Oxford Martin School fellow Hannah Ritchie confirms ‘No’
- Impact Area
Broken Record Alert:
People WILL NOT change their diets for environmental reasons.
No matter how often we hear “EAT LESS MEAT”
we eat more meat when we can afford it, because we like it.
—@TamarHaspel on Twitter, 4 Feb 2019
The following excerpts are taken from a BBC analysis piece published yesterday that was commissioned by the BBC from Hannah Ritchie, an expert from the Oxford Martin School and the non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab.
‘. . . [G]lobal meat consumption has increased rapidly over the past 50 years. Meat production today is nearly five times higher than in the early 1960s—from 70 million tonnes to more than 330 million tonnes in 2017.
‘A big reason for this is that there are many more people to feed. Over that period the world population more than doubled. In the early 1960s there were around three billion of us, and today there are more than 7.6 billion.
‘While population is part of the story, it doesn’t entirely account for why meat production increased five-fold. Another key factor is rising incomes.
‘Around the world, people have become richer, with the global average income more than tripling in half a century. When we compare consumption across different countries we see that, typically, the richer we are the more meat we eat.
‘There are not just more people in the world—there are more people who can afford to eat meat.
‘Who eats the most meat?
‘We see a clear link with wealth when looking at patterns of meat consumption across the world.
‘In 2013, the most recent year available, the US and Australia topped the tables for annual meat consumption. Alongside New Zealand and Argentina, both countries topped more than 100kg per person, the equivalent to about 50 chickens or half a cow each.
In fact, high levels of meat consumption can be seen across the West, with most countries in Western Europe consuming between 80 and 90 kilograms of meat per person.
At the other end of the spectrum, many of the world’s poorest countries eat very little meat.
The average Ethiopian consumes just 7kg, Rwandans 8kg and Nigerians 9kg. This is 10 times less than the average European.
‘For those in low-income countries, meat is still very much a luxury. . . .