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Should the consumption of farmed animal products be restricted, and if so, by how much?


  • Deckers, Jan


Recent studies have proposed that the consumption of farmed animal products must be curtailed to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This paper argues that a careful assessment of the different emissions produced by different actual and potential diets is needed to evaluate whether or not restricting the consumption of farmed animal products could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and if so, by how much. It is also argued that the question of whether or not the consumption of farmed animal products should be restricted must be addressed in the light of information derived from various sustainability indicators, rather than on the basis of a narrow focus on greenhouse gas emissions. A case study from the UK is used to develop a broader understanding of how dietary modifications might reduce a range of problems associated with the consumption of farmed animal products. It is argued that even more comprehensive studies of the different Global Health Impacts (GHIs) are needed to assess the merits and demerits associated with the consumption of farmed animal products.

Suggested Citation

  • Deckers, Jan, 2010. "Should the consumption of farmed animal products be restricted, and if so, by how much?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 497-503, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:35:y:2010:i:6:p:497-503

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pretty, J. N. & Brett, C. & Gee, D. & Hine, R. E. & Mason, C. F. & Morison, J. I. L. & Raven, H. & Rayment, M. D. & van der Bijl, G., 2000. "An assessment of the total external costs of UK agriculture," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 113-136, August.
    2. Pretty, J.N. & Ball, A.S. & Lang, T. & Morison, J.I.L., 2005. "Farm costs and food miles: An assessment of the full cost of the UK weekly food basket," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-19, February.
    3. Moran, Daniel D. & Wackernagel, Mathis C. & Kitzes, Justin A. & Heumann, Benjamin W. & Phan, Doantam & Goldfinger, Steven H., 2009. "Trading spaces: Calculating embodied Ecological Footprints in international trade using a Product Land Use Matrix (PLUM)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1938-1951, May.
    4. Hoekstra, A.Y., 2009. "Human appropriation of natural capital: A comparison of ecological footprint and water footprint analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1963-1974, May.
    5. Jules Pretty & Craig Brett & David Gee & Rachel Hine & Chris Mason & James Morison & Matthew Rayment & Gert Van Der Bijl & Thomas Dobbs, 2001. "Policy Challenges and Priorities for Internalizing the Externalities of Modern Agriculture," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 263-283.
    6. Walsh, Conor & O'Regan, Bernadette & Moles, Richard, 2009. "Incorporating methane into ecological footprint analysis: A case study of Ireland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1952-1962, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. White, Robin R. & Brady, Michael, 2014. "Can consumers’ willingness to pay incentivize adoption of environmental impact reducing technologies in meat animal production?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 41-49.
    2. Vinnari, Markus & Tapio, Petri, 2012. "Sustainability of diets: From concepts to governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 46-54.
    3. Leach, Allison M. & Emery, Kyle A. & Gephart, Jessica & Davis, Kyle F. & Erisman, Jan Willem & Leip, Adrian & Pace, Michael L. & D’Odorico, Paolo & Carr, Joel & Noll, Laura Cattell & Castner, Elizabet, 2016. "Environmental impact food labels combining carbon, nitrogen, and water footprints," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 213-223.


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