EC study find outs the livestock sector is responsible for 81-86% of the agricultural greenhouse gas emission
In mid October 2020, the European Commission published a report examining the environmental, economic and social consequences of EU livestock production and how this sector can contribute to sustainable agriculture.
While recognising the important economic role played by livestock production in the EU economy, the report stresses the significant environmental impacts associated with industrial animal production. Such impacts can affect biodiversity, human health, and the functioning of ecosystems.
In particular, by including in calculations the environmental impacts of the production, processing, and transport of feed, the report concludes that the livestock sector is responsible for 86-88% of the EU’s agricultural GHG emissions. Additionally, more than 80% of nitrogen of agricultural origin present in all EU aquatic environments is linked to livestock farming, and livestock farms are the main sources of ammonia.
On animal welfare, the report recalls the results of the last special Eurobarometer on animal welfare showing that 94% of European citizens attach importance to animal welfare, with 82% agreeing that farm animals should be better protected. Three key areas need to be addressed to respond to citizens expectations, and namely the intensification of farming, transportation of animals and slaughter.
The report notes that the specialisation and intensification of livestock farming systems has had negative implications for animal welfare, leading to stress and pain due to artificial living conditions in industrial type buildings, damage to animal integrity (e.g., painful husbandry procedures), separation from familiar conspecifics and unnatural levels of mixing. Citizens expect animals to be spared fear and anxiety and to be offered the possibility to experience positive emotions. Such an approach can also have positive knock-on effects on the reduction in the use of antimicrobials in farmed animals, which should be halved by 2030 compared to current levels according to the Farm to Fork strategy.
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