By Sam McIvor
This speech was given at Diplosphere's panel discussion on Meat The Future on 10 May 2021.
Will we still be eating meat in 2050 as we know it?
The answer is yes, we will be eating NZ red meat and here’s why:
It tastes good.
It has unique nutritional attributes brought about by being a natural product – our comparison of grass fed red meat from NZ, with grain fed product and alternative proteins will have reinforced its dietary and health attractiveness and let’s not forget protein availability needs to double by 2050.
People will be not only be able to eat NZ red meat guilt-free but actually with a global good lens.
Our red meat will be carbon positive by 2050; in fact many of our farmers are now. We are NZ’s only industry to reduce our carbon emissions by 30% since 1990.
It will be grown within a mosaic of farm businesses and landscapes that have honored and improved water quality but have also contributed significantly to biodiversity through the 2.8 m ha of indigenous woody species and 1.4 m ha of native bush our sheep and beef farmers care for.
Our free range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free farming systems will have continued to evolve to find a unique symbiosis between our animals and the environment.
As the worlds most innovative meat industry, we will continue to drive our husbandry in a way that honours our animals in life and in death – we’ll honour them by utilising every part of the animal in death in a way that contributes to the greater good of human and animal kind.
The NZ red meat sector will have led the world in regenerative agriculture and captured the premium value for NZ.
We’ll continue to be NZ’s most successfully transformative industry. No-one else has halved, their stock numbers, doubled the value if the industry and reduced GHG’s by 30% over the last thirty years. We’ll continue to be the worlds most innovative and “adaptable to change” pastoral industry.
We’ll continue to be NZ’s largest manufacturing industry, a critical employer, a contributor to regional and urban communities and the NZ public will be right behind us.
Working with government we’ll have opened up new markets and reduced non-tariff barriers because people demand our products and customers advocate for use.
We’ll be feeding 24 million people, adding to their enjoyment and wellbeing with our co-products and their pets will be flourishing in NZ’s unique red meat nutrition.
Lastly we’ll be eating it because and it brings people together for fellowship and community and to nurture each other and it tastes good (did I mention that! ).
Sam McIvor is the CEO of Beef Lamb New Zealand
The views expressed in this speech are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Diplosphere's stance.