Topic : The future of food is animal-friendly
Topic in Syllabus: General Studies Paper 2: Indian Society
Feeding about 10 billion people by 2050 with our current agricultural practices is almost impossible. human mind has found a solution, which is to increase the production of healthy and nutritious plant-based meat and innovate the technology to manufacture “cultivated meat”, also called clean meat.
Problems with Our food system:
- Our current food system puts undue pressure on our resources.
- For ex: Amazon rainforest burn mainly as a result of action by cattle ranchers and loggers.
- Ranchers set fire to the forests so that they can be used for cattle grazing. Cattle ranching is responsible for 80% of the destruction of the Amazon.
- In India too, our forests are being overgrazed by buffaloes and goats which are used for dairy or meat.
- greenhouse gas emissions from the meat industry are high.
Problems of the meat industry
- Our food system is extremely inefficient as we feed grains to cows, goats and chickens and then eat the animals.
- So, in essence, for every 9 calories of food fed to a chicken we get 1 calorie back. Despite efforts, 34.7% of Indian children suffer malnutrition.
- The meat industry wastes a tremendous amount of water too — about one-third of the world’s water consumption is for producing animal products.
- Niti Aayog has predicted that 21 major cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad are going to hit zero groundwater levels by 2020.
- Antibiotics are used in livestock and poultry feed.
- The World Health Organization has said that antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.
- The greatest casualty of the meat industry are the animals which are crammed into farms, face extreme cruelty during their lives and are inhumanely slaughtered.
- As our incomes rise, meat consumption will increase and the pressure on our resources will augment. Despite the increased meat production, we will continue to be a food-insecure nation.
Ways to overcome problems with food system.
The human mind has found a solution, which is to increase the production of healthy and nutritious plant-based meat and innovate the technology to manufacture “cultivated meat”, also called clean meat
What is clean Meat?
- Clean meat is grown in a lab from a small sample of cells taken from an animal.
- Both plant-based meat and clean meat are free of the negative externalities that animal meat production is responsible for, such as climate change.
- It is also healthier as it is free of antibiotics.
- Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are the biggest companies in this sector.
- Beyond Meat makes burgers from pea protein and had an extremely successful IPO this year when it listed on the NASDAQ.
- The Indian company Good Dot has just opened six eateries in Mumbai and makes everything from a burger to plant-based kheema pav.
- India’s population can benefit from making plant-based and clean meat available.
- India is uniquely poised to be a leader in this sector as crops such as millets, ragi, pulses and chickpeas which grow here are ideal raw ingredients for plant-based meats.
- It has envisioned the world’s first centre of excellence for clean meat.
- This sector can alleviate the climate impact of the meat industry, augment farmers’ incomes, combat malnutrition and spare the lives of billions of animals.