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Does the consumption of farmed animal products cause human hunger?

Lookup NU author(s): Mx Jan Deckers



While the human consumption of farmed animal products (FAPs) is rising at an unprecedented rate, the number of undernourished people exceeds 1 billion. FAPs can provide nutritional benefits, but their human health impacts, particularly how their consumption affects the health of others, have hardly been recognised. In this article the question of whether or not the consumption of FAPs causes human hunger is explored. A survey of the direct and indirect human health impacts is provided to shed light on this issue. As the farm animal sector (FAS) facilitates the emergence and spread of a large number of human diseases and produces a wide range of indirect human health impacts associated with land use and degradation, water use and pollution, and fossil fuel use and atmospheric pollution, the consumption of some FAPs is associated with an increase in stressors that cause human hunger. The United Nations, however, adopt the view that everyone has a right to food. If the existence of this right is accepted, it must be asked whether or not this right is jeopardised unjustifiably by the consumption of FAPs. Rather than adopt a simplistic proposal for equal per-capita shares, it is argued that what is needed is a careful, case-by-case consideration of how the consumption of FAPs might fit into a theory of global justice that allocates rights and duties, including the duty to safeguard the right to food of every human being.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Deckers J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition

Year: 2011

Volume: 6

Issue: 3

Pages: 353-377

Print publication date: 23/08/2011

Date deposited: 21/10/2011

ISSN (print): 1932-0248

ISSN (electronic): 1932-0256

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/19320248.2011.597836


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