The OIE is the world’s leading authority in farm animal health, and announced the move as a result of “a very strong request” from some of its 175 member-states, following discussions in May at the organisation’s 77th general assembly in Paris on the effect of climate change on animal disease.
The environmental report – the first in the OIE’s 85-year history – will look at how meat production affects climate change and what effects an increase in production will have. Methane emissions from livestock and forest clearances to create pastures are major factors in environmental degradation and the production of greenhouse gases. If current trends continue, demand for meat is expected to rise 50 per cent by 2020.
“Whatever happens, we are going to have to produce more animals to feed the planet,” OIE director-general Bernard Vallat said. “There is not yet a scientific model that can prove that our planet could do without milk, eggs or meat.”
The scope of the report is not expected to go over ground already covered by the work of the UN or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and it is expected that the OIE will recommend more research into limiting the adverse environmental effects of meat production and livestock, rather than a ban or reduction in production.