IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Eating Meat: Evolution, Patterns, and Consequences


  • Vaclav Smil


Carnivorousness is a part of human evolutionary heritage, but typical meat intakes were limited in virtually all preindustrial societies. Rising meat consumption has been a key marker of the universal dietary transition that has accompanied economic modernization. Meat is now the largest source of high-quality animal proteins, and in some countries its annual supply is as high as 100 kg or more per capita. At the same time, high average intakes of red meat and poultry have had a number of undesirable agronomic, economic, nutritional, and environmental consequences. Fortunately, most of these negative effects can be alleviated by reducing excessively high meat consumption and by managing better both the production of feeds and the feeding of animals. Copyright 2002 by The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Vaclav Smil, 2002. "Eating Meat: Evolution, Patterns, and Consequences," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 599-639.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:28:y:2002:i:4:p:599-639

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Tiziano Gomiero, 2013. "Alternative Land Management Strategies and Their Impact on Soil Conservation," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(3), pages 1-20, August.
    2. van der Linden, Aart & Oosting, Simon J. & van de Ven, Gerrie W.J. & de Boer, Imke J.M. & van Ittersum, Martin K., 2015. "A framework for quantitative analysis of livestock systems using theoretical concepts of production ecology," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 100-109.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:28:y:2002:i:4:p:599-639. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.