The diet in developed countries, and developing countries, partly consists of meat and dairy products, the production of which has a negative impact on the environment


Newly Emerging Economies (NEEs) are countries that are experiencing high rates of economic development, which can be as a result of industrialisation. Most NEEs have large populations that are still growing. NEEs have a growing middle class, with more and more people working in the secondary and tertiary industries.This growing middle class now has a consumption pattern evolving from a more traditional diet, consisting mostly of vegetables and grains to a more westernised diet. 


One aspect of this is a great increase in the consumption of meat and dairy products as a result of the people living in NEEs are now able to afford more expensive, luxury foods, for example beef and cheese. As the diets of this large number of people are changing, the demand for meat and dairy products is steadily increasing, despite some people’s decision to become vegetarian or vegan. This had countless negative impacts, one of which is that the environment is suffering greatly as a result of animal agriculture and the production of meat and dairy products. People seldom consider that beef production releases 110kg of methane every year and that amount is still increasing. In the past 15 years, the greenhouse emissions of the animal agriculture industry increased by 11%. Meat production causes vast amounts of pollution through fossil fuel usage, animal methane, and high water and land consumption. In order to cope with the influx of demand for products such as beef, the world requires more and more land to be dedicated to animal agriculture. One of the most significantly affected areas is the amazon rainforest, in which deforestation is taking place at extremely high rates. It is a very significant carbon sink and if this continues the impacts on the environment will be grave. In order to create farmland for breeding animals, many trees are cut down every day to clear land, and the negative impact is not limited to this. 


As the demand for meat increases, more land is cleared to cultivate many animals to meet these high demands. Clearing large areas of land for animal agriculture means that natural nutrient cycling is also greatly interfered with as the carbon dioxide that is usually taken in from the atmosphere through the photosynthesis done by all plants is reduced by a large amount. This means that as well as greenhouse emissions increasing at very high rates, much less carbon dioxide is taken in per year by plants. Overall, this is greatly increasing the negative impact of animal agriculture and meat production and consumption. If everyone reduced their total beef consumption by just 10% can have a huge positive effect and can also make a huge difference. Another way people like ourselves can contribute to the protection of the environment and the earth’s atmosphere against the negative causes of meat production and consumption is that you can suggest the cutting down of meat and dairy products to friends and family. If everyone makes small changes in their lives, we can make a huge difference.