Policy ForumAgriculture

Losing the Links Between Livestock and Land

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Science  09 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5754, pp. 1621-1622
DOI: 10.1126/science.1117856

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Global meat production is becoming increasingly industrialized, spatially concentrated, and geographically detached from the agricultural land base. This Policy Forum reviews the process of livestock industrialization and globalization, and its consequences for water, nitrogen, and species-rich habitats in meat- and feed-producing regions often vastly separated in space. It argues that pricing and other policy mechanisms which reflect social costs of resource use and ecological change are needed to re-couple livestock and land in producer countries, drawing on examples from Europe and the United States. It also argues that consumers can play an important role in setting a sustainable course.