A study published Monday in the specialized scientific journal Nature Food stated that feeding livestock differently and keeping grain and other animal feed sources for humans would provide food for one billion more people in the world.
Of the more than six billion tons of animal feed produced each year in the world, about 15 percent is food that can directly feed humans.
In detail, 68% of the feed fed to birds is made from products suitable for human consumption, while this percentage is 49% for fish and 38% for pigs.
By reducing the competition between human and animal food, “about a billion more people could be fed,” the study’s lead author, Vilma Sandstrom of Finland’s Aalto University, told AFP.
The researchers identified animal-friendly and currently unused alternatives that could replace some of the animal feed: agricultural waste such as straw, leaves, distillers (waste from the ethanol industry made from wheat or corn), sugar beet waste, rapeseed and cotton.
“Many of these products are left in the fields or thrown away,” said Vilma Sandstrom. Although it is not ready for immediate use in animal feed, it is a method at our disposal.”
The study further indicated that the cultivation of plants intended to feed livestock has a significant impact on the environment and climate. Livestock for meat production accounts for more than 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and agriculture uses more than three-quarters of the fresh water available on Earth.