The goal of this workshop is to bring together scholars from the social sciences working on the various aspects of human consumption of animal products. We want to engage in a discussion about what we know and do not know about the consumption of meat and dairy, its economic and environmental consequences, as well as possible ways to design effective interventions. Topics include, but are not limited to, psychological aspects of why humans eat (or do not eat) meat, the economic analyses of information effects and other interventions on the consumption of animal products, and the evaluations of regulatory instruments like taxes.
Industrialized countries have high levels of meat and dairy consumption. Recently, the rising middle classes in emerging countries are catching up, eating an increasing volume of meat and other processed animal products. Currently, around 70% of agricultural land and 30% of the global land surface are used for animal production, and this has serious implications for life on Earth. The production and consumption of meat and dairy are not only depleting and polluting the world’s freshwater resources, but also contributing to climate change. It is estimated that around 18% of global emissions are attributable to livestock. Moreover, livestock production is often associated with dismal living conditions for the animals and, therefore, consumption of animal products can be viewed as a morally problematic activity.