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A shift to plant-based meat alternatives could put more than 1 million jobs in the industry at risk, researchers say. As the threat of climate change grows, there is increasing pressure on consumers to embrace more environmentally friendly foods. Introducing plant-based meat is said to be one way to do that.

But what would be the impact if we started swapping Angus beef for the Impossible Burger?

Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University published in The Lancet Planet Health, found that switching to plant-based beef could reduce agricultural footprint by 2.5-13.5%. At the same time, his more than 1.5 million jobs in primary production and beef processing could be threatened.

The calculation was based on a model that explores what it means to reduce the number of cattle used in beef production by a minimum of 2 million and a maximum of 12 million. Beef alone is a $95 billion annual business, according to USDA figures.

The North American Meat Association (NAMI) estimates that the meat industry contributes about $894 billion to the US economy. With the growing trend to use more plant-based protein, the study authors say governments will need to think strategically about how to adapt and whether marginalized workers, such as migrant workers, will be adversely affected. The processing sector mainly depends on migrant workers.

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Could jobs be redistributed?

The authors note that restricted labor mobility can adversely affect the bargaining power, future wages, and ability of these workers to demand safer working conditions. However, as the authors point out, the widespread adoption of plant-based alternatives could reshape the food system and make it “more efficient.” New demand could arise for crops that were less important, and jobs could be redistributed. “There are good reasons for regulators and policy makers to encourage these emerging technologies,” said Mario Herrero, study co-author and researcher at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

We have to commit ourselves to shift workers from the swine and poultry sector. To predict potential growth in other areas, the researchers ran various models so that removing 2 to 12 million cows from the supply chain would cost 16 to 94 million chickens and could mean up to 1.4 million pigs. Also, given the limited feed production in the pig and poultry sector, an increase in plant-based beef raises a significant debate about the impact of large-scale pig and poultry farming.

For poultry, there are already concerns about limited feed availability. For example, many animal rights activists have expressed concern about “beak stripping.” This includes cutting off or burning the tips of the beaks of poultry so they don’t hurt each other when confined in confined spaces.

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Overuse of antibiotics

Overuse of antibiotics is also cited as a problem. This is because the factory builders want and need to limit the spread of the disease. The spread of the disease is accelerated by severe confinement and stress. Increasing numbers of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, limiting the range of treatments that can be successfully used to protect human health.

Similar concerns exist about the use of antibiotics in the pork industry. Pigs raised in closed rooms are also more likely to bite their tails and develop bursitis and other joint problems. Bursitis occurs when the bursa (the fluid-filled sac that lines the joint) becomes inflamed and causes severe pain. Researchers note that there are already a wide range of herbal alternatives on the market, and more are on the horizon. The willingness to adopt them could lead to significant increases in animals in industrial facilities.

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Related article: UK consumers are buying 9.4% less meat

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Source: Beef Central

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