The U.N. says its report, “Tackling climate change through livestock: A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities,” is the most comprehensive estimate on the topic to date.
The report claims 14.5 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions stem from livestock supply chains, with feed production and processing, outputs of GHG during digestion by cows, and manure decomposition listed as the primary contributors.
The study shows improvements to the industry can cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 percent.
That percentage can be reduced through technologies in feeding, manure and health and husbandry management in addition to the best animal handling practices.
Changes to the system require solutions from all stakeholders, bringing together the private and public sector, civil society research and academia and international organizations.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), established the Global Agenda of Action in Support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development and identified three priorities for improvement: promoting more efficient practices, improved grassland management and better manure management.