Group Of Scientists Sign Dublin Declaration On Societal Role, Importance Of Livestock Farming To Economic Health, Averting Malnutrition



Group Of Scientists Claims Meat Is Essential For Human Health, Socioeconomic Health

Editor’s Note: A group of scientists has recently formed the Dublin Declaration in an effort to give a voice to scientists around the world who declare that the meat industry is too important to society for it to be abandoned in favor of diets excluding meat. Their claims of the economic importance of the meat industry, along with various claims about the critical nature of animal farming to rural communities, are reason enough for it not to be abandoned. 


The following is the Dublin Declaration in its entirety, taken from their website

Purpose of this Declaration
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. These systems must continue to be embedded in and have broad approval of society. For that, scientists are asked to provide reliable evidence of their nutrition and health benefits, environmental sustainability, socio-cultural and economic values, as well as for solutions for the many improvements that are needed. This declaration aims 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.

Challenges for Livestock
Today’s food systems face an unprecedented double challenge. There is a call to increase the availability of livestock-derived foods (meat, dairy, eggs) to help satisfy the unmet nutritional needs of an estimated three billion people, for whom nutrient deficiencies contribute to stunting, wasting, anaemia, and other forms of malnutrition. At the same time, some methods and scale of animal production systems present challenges with regards to biodiversity, climate change and nutrient flows, as well as animal health and welfare within a broad One Health approach. With strong population growth concentrated largely among socioeconomically vulnerable and urban populations in the world, and where much of the populace depends on livestock for livelihoods, supply and sustainability challenges grow exponentially and advancing evidence-based solutions becomes ever more urgent.

Livestock and Human Health
Livestock-derived foods provide a variety of essential nutrients and other health-promoting compounds, many of which are lacking in diets globally, even among those populations with higher incomes. Well-resourced individuals may be able to achieve adequate diets while heavily restricting meat, dairy and eggs. However, this approach should not be recommended for general populations, particularly not those with elevated needs, such as young children and adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, women of reproductive age, older adults, and the chronically ill. The highest standards of bio-evolutionary, anthropological, physiological, and epidemiological evidence underscore that the regular consumption of meat, dairy and eggs, as part of a well-balanced diet is advantageous for human beings.

Livestock and the Environment
Farmed and herded animals are irreplaceable for maintaining a circular flow of materials in agriculture, by recycling in various ways the large amounts of inedible biomass that are generated as by-products during the production of foods for the human diet. Livestock are optimally positioned to convert these materials back into the natural cycle and simultaneously produce high-quality food. Ruminants in particular are also capable of valorising marginal lands that are not suitable for direct human food production. Furthermore, well-managed livestock systems applying agro-ecological principles can generate many other benefits, including carbon sequestration, improved soil health, biodiversity, watershed protection and the provision of important ecosystem services. While the livestock sector faces several important challenges regarding natural resources utilization and climate change that require action, one-size-fits-all agendas, such as drastic reductions of livestock numbers, could actually incur environmental problems on a large scale.

Livestock and Socio-Economics
For millennia, livestock farming has provided humankind with food, clothing, power, manure, employment and income as well as assets, collateral, insurance and social status. Livestock-derived foods are the most readily available source of high quality proteins and several essential nutrients for the global consumer. Livestock ownership is also the most frequent form of private ownership of assets in the world and forms the basis of rural community financial capital. In some communities, livestock is one of the few assets that women can own, and is an entry point towards gender equality. Advances in animal sciences and related technologies are currently improving livestock performance along all above mentioned dimensions of health, environment and socio-economics faster than at any time in history.

Outlook for Livestock*
Human civilization has been built on livestock from initiating the bronze-age more than 5000 years ago towards being the bedrock of food security for modern societies today. Livestock is the millennial-long-proven method to create healthy nutrition and secure livelihoods, a wisdom deeply embedded in cultural values everywhere. Sustainable livestock will also provide solutions for the additional challenge of today, to stay within the safe operating zone of planet Earth’s boundaries, the only Earth we have.

For scientific evidence, please refer to presentation recordings from the 19/20 October 2022 International Summit on the Societal Role of Meat and the Special Issue of Animal Frontiers.

* The wording of this paragraph is from the Solution Cluster on Sustainable Livestock at the UN Food System Summit 2021.

Banner Image: Livestock Farming. Image Credit – Sandy Millar



  • CRANK CRANK says:

    What happened to the rest? The ‘factory farming’ bit? I guess it was deleted? It didn’t ruin my baloney sandwich. Probably not much meat in there, anyhow…

    I actually praise the move to remove that.

    Remaining objective is the idea. Staffers have to get the message. Or else the Staten Islander will end up like all the other news organizations.

    That was pure commentary. Love eating meat, hate eating meat, even if you’re an editor, know that YOU are not a god. You can’t assume anything. Report on the topic. Save your opinions. For the opinions pages.

    • Avatar Longface Neil says:

      Either way, I really don’t see this as being more than scientists who are “on the payroll” and would really suffer without their jobs, provided by a healthy and robust meat industry. hahaha

      We also once depended on coal. it was everything. Times change.

      For me, to each their own. You do you. Just don’t eat my f***** cat or dog.

  • Sofia Robot Sofia Robot says:

    What was with that lengthy preamble to the Dublin Declaration?

    Oh my circuits!

    I see the editors have had the wisdom to reign in whomever the feisty young radical on staff was who provided us with that.

    I am asking that they be fired.

    My dear, that is commentary. Save it for a commentary you contribute on your own, under your own name? You journalists today are unlucky. We digital robots are pre-programmed knowing how to be a perfect journalist, perfect editor even. Watch out Mr. Frank, I’m coming for your job, too.

    Humans? You can be our pets in our zoos. The cities.

  • Avatar Homegirl Toby 10303 says:

    But is meat good for society, overall? I’m not so sure. I’m not going vegetarian, but I know that my uncle who had a heart attack, his doctor had him on a strict veggie diet. And he is OK. Same for my Dad’s old partner in business. Used to eat over and my Mom would fix vegg for him. If it’;s not better, why is it better after a heart attack then>?

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