This chapter discusses the issues surrounding livestock production. Livestock is produced for high-value protein, but the justification of intense production of livestock on the grounds of carbon raises ethical and product quality issues, as well as water and air pollution, soil erosion, and reduced fertility. Livestock is in competition with human edible food and waste. Ruminant animals have a higher carbon cost than monogastrics, as they produce methane, but they produce more energy per kilogram of human edible livestock products than do monogastrics, who are in direct competition with humans. We need to find ways to lessen reliance on imports of proteins like soybean to feed livestock, such as green waste, which is food production waste that is not edible for humans, and insects. We must waste less from disease and illness of livestock, as well as in the consumption part of the value chain. Mixed or integrated farming is common worldwide, but has lower yields of single products. The system must be matched to the environment, and this increases resilience of the livestock. A farmer needs to provide for the social, economic, and environmental needs of the system; exemplified in two examples of the beef system and China’s thirst for milk.
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