Farm animal welfare and food security

Livestock consumption is projected to double between the years 2000 to 2050. The challenge of feeding the world has never been so pressing. Livestock plays a central role in food security - directly through provision of food, and indirectly as a source of income, power and manure for crop production.

Livestock can also have a negative impact on food security - the crops used to produce animal feed could be used to feed humans directly.

Increasing food supply and intensifying production are often seen as solutions, but this does not always improve food security and can result in poor animal welfare. A world with sufficient, accessible and healthy food with good welfare for farm animals is possible. 

Learn more in our reports and case studies:

Briefing – Zoonotic Diseases, Human Health and Farm Animal Welfare (PDF 6MB, 16 pages)

The briefing, produced by WSPA and Compassion in World Farming, summarises longer reports written by experts. It examines some of the most common diseases that infect animals and can also be passed to humans, assesses the causes and risks to humans and farm animals and outlines important tools to battle against zoonotic diseases.

Briefing – Food Security and Farm Animal Welfare (PDF 3.8MB, 20 pages)
The briefing, produced by WSPA and Compassion in World Farming, summarises a report on Livestock and food security commissioned to the University of Alpen-Adria in Vienna. It finds that intensification of livestock can make food security worse for the world’s hungry.

Full report – The Impact of Industrial Grain Fed Livestock Production on Food Security: an extended literature review (PDF 2.1MB, 83 pages)
This report was commissioned by Compassion in Word Farming, with support from the Tubney Charitable Trust and WSPA. It shows that feeding livestock with cereal and other crop-rich diets, is likely to have negative effects on food security in all regions; particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of Asia and Latin America where food security is already problematic. Extensive farming often creates better food security than intensive farming. This is because it helps to avoid land competition where growing crops for animals compete with growing crops for people to eat

Briefing- Animal welfare and human welfare hand in hand  (PDF 641KB, 8 pages)
This briefing outlines how livestock are an important contributor to food and explores how improvements to animal welfare can boost jobs and livelihoods.

Report - Eating our future  (PDF 1.54MB, 32 pages)
Current trends in animal production contribute to climate change, drain our resources and do not provide good animal welfare. However, livestock kept in well-managed extensive conditions contribute positively to sustainability and the environment. 

Report - Animal production systems and supply chains (PDF 1.16MB, 66 pages)
This report was prepared by Anni McLeod and Andrew Sutherland at the IDL Group for WSPA. The report describes trends in the livestock sector and the potential for improving animal welfare within food supply chains, while supporting livelihoods and employment.

Briefing - Why livestock and humane, sustainable agriculture matter at Rio+20 (PDF 860 KB)
This leaflet outlines why humane and sustainable agriculture must be considered when we look at the future of food and farming. The rearing and use of animals has a major impact on the environment, society and the global economy, so ensuring their welfare can help alleviate poverty and encourage sustainable development.

Read case studies of humane, sustainable and successful livestock producers >> 


For full reports on each Zoonotic Disease, please contact:
Basia.Romanowicz@wspa-international.org - Acting Head of Farming


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