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Meat and the green economy.

The constant change in behavior in the consumer goods market has brought with it a current that is coming with force and apparently is here to stay. What was initially popularized among rich countries now counts among its ranks around 5% of the world's population[1] largely due to the rise in meat prices, the impact of livestock farming on the environment, the increase in world population and the quest to reduce fat intake. Vegan food, in addition to being a healthy diet alternative as it is made up only of plant-based products, is accompanied by ethical, economic and political arguments and evidence. A brief analysis of the behavior of the meat market in Mexico will be made and later some aspects that are behind the commercialization of meat volume will be discussed, such as their dubious quality and animal abuse; Finally, some of the benefits of a vegan diet will be discussed.

The food issue is one of the most debated and worrying issues of the 21st century in many aspects; On the one hand, there is talk of guaranteeing access to a healthy diet for the bulk of the world's population, according to the UN it is estimated that around 690 million people suffer from hunger[2]. There is also a lot of debate about environmental sustainability, which implies avoiding the negative impact of anthropogenic activity on the climate and activities such as livestock do not contribute much to it, which reflects that food coverage brings with it negative externalities. Graph 1 shows the behavior of meat consumption in Mexico during the last 20 years, according to data from the OECD and the UN; In the pork and poultry market there is an upward trend in their consumption, the latter being the main source of animal protein in the country due to their lower prices compared to red meat. Both pork and poultry share the characteristic that their increase has been constant in the years under review, except for certain moments, marked by a limited supply of meat in the international market (mainly in the United States), this cause is also involved with the decrease in consumption of beef and sheep meat, as well as its rise.

GRAPH 1. Meat consumption in Mexico

Own elaboration with data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Source:

In contrast to the information on world meat prices represented in graph 2, the constant increase in meat prices is distinguished, in part due to the increase in fodder costs also represented in the graph, which have led to high volatility in the past decade, mainly in America, Australia and Europe where forage cereals are used mainly for meat production. According to the OECD[3], nominal prices of all meats are expected to be higher in 2026 relative to current levels and per capita consumption is expected to stagnate at 34.6 kg, although population growth is expected to total consumption increases by about 1.5% per year (OECD, 2017).

Gráfico 2. Índice de costos de forrajes e índices de precios de carne para el consumo

Source: OECD/FAO (2017), “OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook”, OECD Agriculture Statistics (database),

The consumption and commercialization of meat is marked by an industry that has profited despite the deplorable conditions in which the different species are born, grow and die. The lack of sensitivity has caused farm animals to be seen as meat-producing machines, depriving them of guarantees and condemning them to live in a depressing environment in small spaces, crowded among their own waste and with a fairly limited life expectancy. To mention an example, the foie gras industry[4] forces ducks to eat through a metal tube that is inserted through the esophagus to the stomach, being constantly fed they have to suffer inflammation and pain until death , only for the production of a luxury dish consumed mainly in Europe. For many animals, the only time they will see sunlight is on the way to the slaughterhouse, which is usually in large overcrowded trucks, without drinking water and without food.

At some point in history we forgot that animals are also sentient beings, while industrial slaughter grows and modernizes in order to kill more animals per day. Another topic of controversy is the diseases to which animals are exposed by being overcrowded in their own waste; According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations[5] and the WHO, zoonoses are defined as "any disease or infection that can be transmitted naturally by vertebrate animals to people" (WHO , 2015) such as tuberculosis, which can cause death in humans, swine flu or avian flu can also be spread to people who have been in contact with infected animals. The meat industry keeps its farms and slaughterhouses shielded from the eyes of consumers and there is evidence that they have manipulated public opinion[6]. The Harvard School of Public Health stated in 1990 that there is a relationship between the consumption of red meat and the incidence of cancer[7] as well as the increased risk of premature death from cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

The formula for a healthy life consists mainly of 3 aspects: the diet, which should be rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, "good" or unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. With this inside the body, a reduction in inflammation that can damage tissues, joints, artery walls and organs can be guaranteed. The vegan diet usually contains adequate amounts of folic acid, magnesium, fiber, iron, vitamin C and E, low calories, low cholesterol, as well as vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin B12 is very important because it helps the body process to obtain energy and form red blood cells, it is present in meat and eggs, but it can be added to the vegan diet through food supplements. Physical activity is also necessary for good health as it reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer. The last aspect is to have constant contact with a doctor for the prevention of diseases or their early detection.

Changing eating habits not only allows for a better life expectancy, it also opens the way to a more sustainable society, on the one hand reducing the rate of obesity,[8] diabetes, arterial problems or high cholesterol. In this way, the state resources allocated to the treatment of these diseases (or private resources) can be allocated to other projects that improve the country's living conditions (such as infrastructure improvement, technological innovation research, etc.) It would also reduce the impact environment of livestock, which has a large share in the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere and would also stop the deforestation generated to have more land use for livestock. Cooperation between the state and the private sector is key to achieving a transition to a greener economy that allows for better use of resources, less environmental impact and a higher level of quality of life for the population.


·OECD. (s. f.). Meat consumption. OECD Library. Recuperado 2 de octubre de 2021, de

·Hacia una Ganadería Sustentable y de Bajas Emisiones en México: una propuesta de implementación de una acción nacionalmente apropiada de mitigación para transitar hacia la ganadería bovina extensiva sustentable / Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura.. – México : IICA, 2020

·Gobierno de México. (2017). Programa de sustentabilidad Ambiental del INEEL.

·Igualdad animal. (2020, 3 diciembre). 5 horrores de la industria ganadera que preferirías no conocer. Igualdad Animal México.

·Consejo Mexicano de carne. (2018). COMPENDIO ESTADÍSTICO.

·EL FOIE GRAS – FRANCE FOIE GRAS. (2017). France Foie Gras.

·Por qué la ganadería industrial es la mayor causante de maltrato animal de la historia. (2019, 12 febrero). Igualdad Animal.

·OMS. (2015, 29 octubre). Declaración de la OMS sobre los vínculos entre la carne procesada y el cáncer colorrectal.

·Wyness, L. (2011). How much red meat should we eat? Nutrition Bulletin, 36(2), 221–223.

·Statista. (2020, 9 diciembre). Porcentaje de veganos a nivel mundial por región en el T1 de 2016.


·Harvard Health. (s. f.). Staying Healthy. Recuperado 2 de octubre de 2021, de

·Obesidad. (2020, 21 febrero). Obesidad.


[2] See more at

[3] For more information see:

[4] In French, [fwa ɡʁɑ] 'fatty liver'

[5] FAO for its acronym in English.

[6] See more at:



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