Dublin Declaration

The truth about the “Dublin Declaration”

Nearly 1200 scientists were attacked by Greenpeace, who mistakenly believed livestock industry lobbyists wrote this scientific manifesto.

In a recent statement, Greenpeace Italia attacked the Dublin Declaration, the manifesto signed by nearly 1,200 scientists to gather scientific evidence on the environmental sustainability of livestock farming, its socio-cultural and economic values, the nutritional benefits of meat and animal products, to provide a balanced and truthful vision of the future of livestock farming, and to propose solutions to the many possible improvements.

Greenpeace said the document was “drafted by livestock industry lobbyists to prevent a reduction in European meat consumption”. In addition, the declaration was “born as a meat industry position, written by food industry consultants and used by PR agencies and lobbyists to block European policies to protect health and the environment“. “In Italy, in particular, the Dublin Declaration has been widely promoted by Carni Sostenibili.”

Carni Sostenibili (meaning Sustainable Meats) is a communication project based on the rigorous dissemination of scientific evidence obtained on an empirical basis. To do this, it is necessary to explore the scientific world, to examine its results, published in international journals and subject to the judgement of the scientific communities, and to evaluate its activities without interfering in any way or with the freedom of research, not being a funding body for scientific projects, nor on the content as ex-post from the literature. Furthermore, in carrying out this important task of dissemination, strongly advocated by the European Union in the Charter of Researchers, Carni Sostenibili also welcomes the opinions expressed directly by scientists and disseminates them in such a way as to guarantee their freedom of expression and independence from any editorial direction. This is a correct and generally recognised “modus operandi”, also practised by several NGOs concerned with providing citizens with transparent information.

In addition to discrediting a large scientific community made up of the world’s best academics, the Greenpeace press release uses data on the environmental impact of livestock farms in a partial, inaccurate and decontextualised manner.


The data cited by Greenpeace and repeated as a mantra require some important clarifications:

1) “Products of animal origin account for 18% of the calories we consume”: a partial statement that ignores the total contribution of meat and other animal-source foods to human nutrition. Animal proteins (including fish) alone represent 39% of total intake, and 55% of essential amino acids come from consuming these products.

2) “83% of the world’s land is used for meat production”: this anomaly does not correspond to reality. Pastures and meadows (which, among other things, protect the soil, preserve biodiversity and store organic carbon) occupy no more than 26% of the land and 70% of agricultural land (and only because these are areas where no other productive activity could be carried out without serious environmental damage).

3) “Meat accounts for 60% of agricultural emissions”: this statement ignores the fact that FAO data show that the contribution of the agricultural sector as a whole to GHG emissions is no more than 18% and that animal production chains (all, meat, milk, eggs and livestock) directly account for 6% or 1/3 of total emissions.

4) “Meat production chains account for 80% of nitrogen emissions into the atmosphere”: again, it is not known that synthetic fertilisers account for around 50% of nitrogen inputs into agro-ecosystems and that, without them, half the world’s population wouldn’t have enough to eat.

5) The issue of “deforestation” attributed to meat production is not justified by evidence, without even a reference to the recent EU regulation to combat this phenomenon, which particularly affects the production of soya, exotic woods, palm oil and rubber.


The Dublin Declaration comes at a time when the global livestock sector is facing an unprecedented double challenge. On the one hand, there is a call to increase the availability of animal-source foods (meat, dairy products, eggs and fish) to meet the nutritional needs of some three billion people at risk of malnutrition; on the other hand, animal production systems face various challenges related to biodiversity, climate change and nutrient flows, as well as animal health and welfare. In short, the supply and sustainability challenges are growing exponentially, and the need to promote evidence-based solutions in an open and non-ideological debate is becoming increasingly urgent.

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.