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The Societal Role of Meat- What the Science Says

The production and consumption of meats from livestock is of foundational importance in all societies

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Meat and livestock contribute to personal health and well-being, maintain ecological balances and secure socioeconomic livelihoods. The International Summit on The Societal Role of Meat – What the SCIENCE Says, highlighted and summarised all the different ways in which meat is relevant in modern society. The Summit took place in Dublin, Ireland on October 19th & 20th 2022, and was hosted by Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority.

Meat production and meat consumption are frequent subjects of societal debate, and for good reason. As a pivotal source of nourishment, and playing a large role in ecological and economic systems, meat production must continuously evolve with the best technologies available in order to maximize its benefits and minimize undesirable impacts. Given the importance and scale of meat production, the respective agricultural, industrial, governmental and educational actors need to continuously strive to earn their societal license to operate.

It is critical to clearly understand what the objective scientific evidence is saying. The Summit brought together a group of globally leading scientists from across relevant disciplines to present and achieve a comprehensive synopsis of the scientific insights on the role of meat in society. These presentations are available below.

The Evolutionary Role of Meat and its Implications for Contemporary Nutrition and Health Challenges (PDF) - Neil Mann, University of Melbourne, Australia

The Role of Meat in Global Nutrient Supply (PDF) - Nick Smith, Massey University, New Zealand

How much red meat is good for us? (PDF) - Alice Stanton, Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland

Evidence-Based Nutrition: Decision-making for Individuals and Populations (PDF) - Bradley Johnston, Texas A&M University, USA

Ecological aspects of livestock agriculture (PDF) - Pablo Manzano, BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change, Spain & University of Helsinki, Finland

Ruminants - contribution to a sustainable grassland environment, it is not as it seems (PDF) - Jason Rowntree, Michigan State University, USA

The role of grasslands and nutrient circularity in animal agriculture (PDF) - Wilhelm Windisch, Technical University Munich, Germany

Making smallholder farmers ecologically and economically viable- what modern technology and local ingenuity can achieve (PDF) - Max Makuvise, E-Livestock Global, Zimbabwe

Low-carbon agriculture in Brazil: Technologies and Sustainability (PDF) - Celso Moretti, Embrapa

Sustainable livestock opportunities and new food system realities (PDF) - Shirley Tarawali, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya

The economic value of meat production and society (PDF) - Peer Ederer, GOALSciences, Switzerland

Ethical Considerations of Meat Consumption (presentation available upon request to the author) - Candace Croney, Purdue University, USA

Precision fermentation and cell based meat; viable alternatives? (PDF) -Paul Wood, Monash University, Australia


The Societal Role of Meat - What the Science Says

Download the full Programme for The Societal Role of Meat- What the Science Says (pdf)

Day 1

Ministerial Address - Minister Martin Heydon, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The Role of Meat in Diet and Health - Moderator: Diana Rodgers, Sustainable Dish, USA

The Role of Meat in a Sustainable Environment - Moderator: Peter Ballerstedt, Grass Based Health

Day 2

The Role of Meat in Society, Economics and Culture - Moderator: Theo de Jager, Former President WFO

Conclusions & Actions 

  • The restriction of meat through policy: the past, the present and the future - Frédéric Leroy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • The next steps – telling the world - Peer Ederer, GOALSciences, Switzerland

Closing Address 

On the future importance of facts in the meat and livestock debate- Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union

Synthesis and Final Words from the Organizing Committee - Declan Troy, Rod Polkinghorne, Collette Kaster and Mohammed Koohmaraie


For further information, please contact meatandsociety@teagasc.ie

Organising Committee:

Peer Ederer, Founder, GOALSciences, Switzerland
Collette Kaster, CEO, American Meat Science Association, USA
Mohammad Koohmaraie, President, Meat Division, IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group, USA
Frédéric Leroy, Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Rod Polkinghorne, CEO, Birkenwood International, Australia
Declan Troy, Assistant Director of Research, Teagasc, Ireland (Host)
Paul Wood, Monash University, Australia