Over the past few decades, Americans have been besieged, battered and bullied by those whose ideological orientation has kept animal protein (i.e. meat) in the crosshairs of anti-meat rhetoric. In particular, animal rights and environmental extremists have shouted from mountain tops about the alleged adverse impacts of meat consumption to humans, animals, the environment, climate and civilization. Substituting facts, science, and truth with emotions, these groups have force-fed Americans misinformation about every aspect of meat production and consumption. The misinformation has largely gone unchallenged by mainstream news media, liberal politicians, and the public. Farmers and ranchers, a handful of organizations, subject matter experts and some trade media are pushing back to set the record straight based on facts, science, and truth.
At last, scientists have begun to push back on the falsehoods perpetuated by those who simply don’t want the overwhelming majority of Americans who enjoy meat to have the freedom of choice to do so. Thankfully, an increasing number of scientists and researchers are using facts, science, and truth to counter what has been an onslaught of misinformation from the anti-livestock and anti-meat crowds, whose claims would make Soviet Union-era propagandists proud.
In October 2022, a group of more than 200 science community experts from around the world met in Dublin, Ireland, at the International Summit on the Societal Role of Meat. The evidence presented at, and net outcomes from, the Summit were recently published by Animal Frontiers, which is a “joint venture between several professional animal science societies.”
“The unequivocal conclusion from two days of detailed presentations by scientific experts from Australia, the U.S. and Europe is that the highest standards of science do not justify or support the ’simplistic and reductionist’ war being waged against meat,” stated an article in Beef Central, an Australian industry publication.
The Dublin Declaration is a document resulting from the Summit, created to “give voice to the many scientists around the world who research diligently, honestly and successfully in the various disciplines in order to achieve a balanced view of the future of animal agriculture”.
The Declaration states: “Livestock systems must progress on the basis of the highest scientific standards. They are too precious to society to become the victim of simplification, reductionism or zealotry.” It also specifically warns about the danger of “one-size-fits-all agendas,” and that the drastic reduction in global livestock numbers being pushed by extremist groups will lead to “environmental problems on a large scale.”
The Declaration has been signed by more than 1,000 scientists and experts from around the world.
At the Summit, Irish Professor Frank O’Mara stated:
“We all understand and get that we need to have a very sustainable system of agriculture. The point we would make is you can’t have a sustainable and properly functioning food system without livestock being part of that, because of the circular process of crop production and animal production. So we certainly need livestock to be part of the food system to feed the 10 billion people we will have on this planet shortly, and do it in a sustainable manner. When there is fog around, the one thing that helps clear the fog is evidence-based information.”
• Humans have been eating meat for many millennia, and raising livestock has been an integral part of the development and modernization of societies around the world.
• Livestock is unique in its ability to provide people with food, clothing, power, fertilizer, employment, and income.
• In some places, livestock is one of the only things that women can own.
• Over a half-billion people around the world are completely dependent on livestock for their livelihoods.
• A drastic reduction in total global livestock numbers would disproportionately harm impoverished and developing countries.
• Foods produced from livestock have the most abundant and easily absorbable forms of many nutrients. A balanced diet that includes meat, eggs, and dairy products is “advantageous for human beings.”
• Livestock are irreplaceable in the overall agriculture cycle, utilizing natural materials that are inedible by humans. This includes both byproducts of crops grown for human consumption and grasses and other forage on lands that are unsuitable for other productive use.
• Livestock manure is essential for fertilizing vegetable, fruit, and grain crops, either directly or in the production of specialized fertilizers.
• Livestock production creates much more than just consumable products. Properly managed livestock work to sequester carbon, improve soil and watershed health, and aid in bolstering biodiversity.
After thousands of years of human evolution and progress, it has only been in the past century that society has become increasingly removed from the reality and vital importance of agriculture overall, and livestock production in particular. That is partly due to advancements in technology that allow today’s farmers and ranchers to produce much more food per capita than a century ago. Further, it has only been in the most recent decades that the concerted, vicious attacks on animal agriculture have become prominent, primarily in developed nations.
Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Martin Heydon, remarked:
“So much of what we see and read and consume has been boiled down into sound bites that have been very much simplified. It has never been more important to move forward with an accurate and scientific understanding of meat’s role in society. Consumers need to trust their food and where it comes from. And where does that trust from? It comes from science.”
It is highly encouraging to see that the proverbial pendulum seems to be swinging back toward reality in regard to livestock and meat consumption. The Dublin Declaration states that: “Livestock is the millennial-long-proven method to create healthy nutrition and secure livelihoods, a wisdom deeply embedded in cultural values everywhere.”
Protect The Harvest strongly agrees with the Dublin Declaration, which is in total agreement with our efforts to protect and promote a free and fed America.
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