The transformation of the zootechnical sector

Growing demand of animal source foods has determined the need to have highly efficient breeding systems that are thus capable of producing much in little time and space. A tendency is infact underway leading to intensive breeding and industrial cattle production although extensive pastures still cover wide areas of the planet. In this process, insufficient availability of lands has played a crucial role and has generated the need of developing zootechnical systems requiring less areas in comparison to animal production. This is why industrial breeding “without land” is instead increasing whereas extensive breeding of bovines, ovines, caprines and buffalos is decreasing. As pastures become less, even the sources of nutrition destined for cattle breeding change: about 80% of global cereal production, today, is employed as fodder in breeding farms. Cereals, infact, allow animals to grow faster. Industrialized agriculture, responsible for the production of these cereals, has transformed lands altering the frail balance regulating different environmental compartments (soil, atmosphere, water, etc.). In this context of rapid increase of animal production, environmental impacts are amplified as the enhanced inputs within the zootechnical system generate a corresponding increase of waste, pollutant emissions in the atmosphere and exploitation of resources, causing numerous highly intensive sources of pollution.

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