Skillful Means: The Challenges of China's Encounter with Factory Farming

Aug 20, 2008

New York–based policy action tank Brighter Green's new report, Skillful Means: The Challenges of China's Encounter with Factory Farming, (Chinese summary) explores the emerging superpower's "livestock revolution," which is having serious impacts on public health, food security, and equity in China—and the world. The Beijing Summer Olympics are showcasing a resurgent nation, which only two generations after a devastating national famine is eating increasingly high on the food chain. In the past ten years, consumption of China's most popular meat, pork, has doubled. In 2007, China raised well over half a billion pigs for meat.

In Yuan terms, meat is the second largest segment of China's retail food market. China has also opened its doors to investments by major multinational meat and dairy producers, as well as animal feed corporations, including Tyson Foods, Smithfield, and Novus International. Western-style meat culture has gone mainstream. Fast food is a U.S. $28-billion-a-year business in China. McDonald's, a major sponsor of the Olympics, had more than 800 restaurants in China, with at least a hundred more set to open by the time the games began. Four McDonald's are operating in Olympic venues, including the press center and the athletes' village.

"China is not yet a bone fida "factory farm nation, like the U.S.," says Mia MacDonald, Brighter Green's executive director and co-author of Skillful Means. "But the strains of its fast-growing livestock sector are becoming harder to ignore. In the U.S., a re-examination of the multiple human, environmental, economic, and ethical costs of factory farming is taking place. Such a process needs to get underway in China—before it's too late."

Brighter Green is a New York–based public policy action tank that aims to raise awareness and encourage dialogue on and attention to issues that span the environment, animals, and sustainable development both globally and locally.

www.brightergreen.org

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