Knowledge for better food systems

What is the safe operating space for EU livestock?

This report by the RISE Foundation (Rural Investment Support for Europe), co-authored by FCRN member Elisabet Nadeu, outlines the environmental and health impacts of livestock production and consumption in the EU. The report suggests that there is a “safe operating space” for livestock production, defined at the lower bound by the provision of nutrition to humans and the maintenance of permanent pasture habitats, and defined at the upper boundary by climate impacts and nitrogen and phosphorus emissions.

The report concludes that EU livestock production is currently above the upper boundaries for climate impacts and nutrient emissions, and offers suggestions to modify both livestock production and consumption.

Read more here, download the executive summary here (PDF link) and download the full report here (PD link). See also the Foodsource resource Focus: the difficult livestock issue and the paper Defining a land boundary for sustainable livestock consumption.

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Europe

Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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