Barsac declaration reveals some surprising economic insights from the science community

Some time ago, a group of scientists, dieticians and other concerned individuals got together to ask themselves if there was a diet that was optimum for health and for the environment. Their concern was mostly around the state of the nitrogen cycle in Europe as well as health issues from over-consumption of animal products.

The idea of a declaration of what was needed for a healthy diet and environment was developed on 29 October 2009 at Barsac, France at a workshop of experts convened by the EU NinE and BEGIN programmes. The works has come to be known as the Barsac declaration.

Read the full text of the Barsac Programme here.

Pulling all the data together they discovered that a high level of animal food (meat, dairy, etc) in the diet not only is connected to higher instances of poor health, but proportionately contributes a great share to climate gasses and eutrophication.

It doesn’t mean that meat eating should be banned. On the contrary, modern farming, especially organic farming needs animals as an essential part of the methodology. It’s just that we need to eat less meat.

  • Meat in current diet = 215% of that which is sufficient.(44 kg / cap/.yr instead of 24 kg /cap.yr.)
  • Around79-88% of the total emissions related to EU agriculture of ammonia, nitrate and of nitrous oxide are related to livestock production
  • A 50% reduction in livestock products  would reduce nitrogen emissions by around 40%
  • A sufficient diet will reduce eutrophication by 56%
  •  Intake of saturated fats is 42% higher than the recommended maximum dietary intake, leading to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. 80% of saturated fats originate from animal products.
  • Health complications  reduce 44% from a reduction in meat consumption of  50%
  • Requirement for imported soybeans, as animal feed, would be  reduced by 75%.
  • Pressure on global land use (rain forest destruction for example) would be greatly reduced.



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