Dublin Declaration: Scientists around the world recognise the importance of meat and livestock farming

Finally, something is being done to protect the livestock sector from misinformation and to ensure that the debate on meat production and consumption is based on scientific evidence.

For too long, livestock farming has been a victim of simplifications, surrounded by ideological rather than scientific approaches, endangering a valuable sector for society. In particular, the livestock sector today faces an unprecedented double challenge: on the one hand, to increase the availability of healthy and safe high nutritional value food, such as meat, dairy products and eggs, to help meet the nutritional needs of the growing population; on the other hand, animal production systems must also be sustainable for the environment, combat climate change, protect biodiversity, animal health and welfare as part of the One Health approach.

Given the fundamental role of livestock farming, it must be protected and make progress based on the highest scientific standards. In this regard, scientists from around the world came together to provide reliable evidence on the importance of livestock farming for the environment, human health, economy and society by signing the Dublin Declaration, which finally gives voice to science.

International scientists, who study and do research honestly, professionally and successfully, will gather scientific evidence of the nutritional and health benefits of meat and animal products, the environmental sustainability of livestock farming, and its socio-cultural and economic values. To achieve a balanced and truthful vision of the future of livestock farming, proposing solutions for the many possible improvements.

From the evidence collected, it is emerging that livestock is irreplaceable to maintain a circular flow of materials in agriculture, recycling large amounts of inedible biomass generated as by-products during human food production. Livestock is indispensable to converting these materials and producing foods that provide high-quality proteins, essential nutrients and compounds that promote health.

International scientists will gather scientific evidence of the #nutritional and health benefits of #meat and animal products, the environmental sustainability of #livestockFarming, and its socio-cultural and economic values. Click To Tweet

Bio-evolutionary, anthropological, physiological and epidemiological evidence points out that regular consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs, as part of a balanced diet, is beneficial to humans, especially in the population groups with higher needs, as children and adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly.

For millennia, livestock farming has provided humanity with food, clothing, energy, manure, employment and income, creating a healthy diet and safe livelihoods. Livestock is also the most frequent form of private ownership of goods in the world and forms the basis of the financial capital of many rural communities. In some of them, cattle are one of the few goods women can possess, thus representing a point of entry towards women emancipation, especially where social conditions make it more difficult to reach.

Ruminants are also able to exploit marginal lands that are not suitable for the direct production of human food. Moreover, well-managed farming systems applying agroecological principles can generate many benefits, such as carbon sequestration, soil improvement, biodiversity protection, the protection of watersheds and the provision of important ecosystem services.

Advances in animal science and technology are improving livestock performance, reducing greenhouse gas emissions much faster than at any other time in history. Sustainable livestock is a solution to today’s major challenges to protect our only planet. Much of this evidence was discussed at the international event recently hosted in Dublin: “The Societal Role of Meat – What the Science Says“, organised by Teagasc, The Irish Authority for Agriculture and Food Development. In the Irish capital, several international experts have created a scientific debate on the importance of meat in today’s society.

All participants with academic and scientific credentials were invited to support and sign the Dublin Declaration, and all speakers’ presentations will be published in the peer-reviewed edition of Animal Frontiers in March 2023.

Bio-evolutionary, anthropological, physiological and epidemiological evidence points out that regular consumption of #meat, dairy products and eggs, as part of a balanced diet, is beneficial to humans. Click To Tweet

We also invite Italian scientists who work with the livestock sector to do the same, signing the Declaration, which can be done simply through this link.

The "Sustainable Meats" Project aims to identify the key topics, the state of knowledge and the most recent technical scientific trends, with the aim of showing that meat production and consumption can be sustainable, both for health and for the environment.