According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, 2015 saw a drastic rise in meat consumption on a global scale. Data shows that last year there were 308.2 million tons of meat produced, among which 114 million tons were pork, 106.4 million tons were chicken, 68.1 million tons veal and beef, 13.8 million tons of lamb and goat meat, with a small percentage of other types of meat.
Last year, the average annual meat consumption worldwide was 95 lb (43.1 kg) per capita, with an average of 175 lb (79.3 kg) eaten per capita in developed countries and 73.5 lb (33.3 kg) per capita in developing countries.
Experts from the organization theorize that this jump marks only the beginning of an avalanche-like rise in meat consumption. According to them, the rate will increase by 60% in the next 20 years. The reason for this is the quickly growing middle class worldwide, which can afford to consume meat and dairy products.
This will of course bring with it an increased demand for meat, a price hike and difficulties for suppliers in keeping up with that demand. This process may also lead to problems with the economy, especially in agricultural nations that aren't so developed.
Besides the upcoming economic disturbances, experts alarm that there are also other reasons why we should give up our meat eating tendencies and turn to vegetarianism.
The increased consumption of meat will lead to an increase in livestock. It's a known fact that farm animals are one of the major air pollutants due to their high production of methane.
The US Environmental Protection Agency even says that methane is the 2nd most abundant greenhouse gas and that worldwide over 60% of its total emissions come from agricultural activities.
The global effort for reducing methane in the atmosphere is now a priority and more and more governments are trying to limit its spread via numerous sanctions on producers. In 2 years, several campaigns have begun in the US and Great Britain for raising awareness about the environmental dangers of the rapid rise in meat production. They have been hand-in-hand with campaigns for supporting vegetarianism.
Analyses show that if the meat eating tendency does not remain at current levels or decrease in the next 10 years, we can expect an ecological catastrophe. For now, the campaigns in Great Britain have had partial success, with about 35% of the population on the island having announced that they're ready to give up meat for ecological reasons.