Land Use for Edible Protein of Animal Origin - A Review
The present period is characterized by a growing world population and a higher demand for more and better quality food, as well as other products for an improved standard of living. In the future, there will be increasingly strong competition for arable land and non-renewable resources such as fossil carbon-sources, water, and some minerals, as well as between food, feed, fuel, fiber, flowers, and fun (6 F’s). Proteins of animal origin like milk, meat, fish, eggs and, probably, insects are very valuable sources of essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins, but their production consumes some non-renewable resources including arable land and causes considerable emissions. Therefore, this study´s objective was to calculate some examples of the land use (arable land and grassland) for production of edible animal protein taking into consideration important animal species/categories, levels of plant and animal yields, the latter estimated with and without co-products from agriculture, and the food/biofuel industry in animal feeding. There are large differences between animal species/categories and their potential to produce edible protein depending on many influencing variables. The highest amounts per kilogram body weight are produced by growing broiler chicken followed by laying hens and dairy cows; the lowest yields in edible protein and the highest land need were observed for beef cattle. This review clearly indicates that the production of food of animal origin is a very complex process, and selective considerations, i.e., focusing on single factors, do not provide an assessment that reflects the complexity of the subject.