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World’s biggest meat-eaters

Kings of the carnivores

Apr 30th 2012, 15:40 by The Economist online

Who eats most meat? Vegetarians should look away

THE world has a burgeoning appetite for meat. Fifty years ago global consumption was 70m tonnes. By 2007—the latest year for which comparable data are available—it had risen to 268m tonnes. In a similar vein, the amount of meat eaten by each person has leapt from around 22kg in 1961 to 40kg in 2007. Tastes have changed at the same time. Cow (beef and veal) was top of the menu in the early 1960s, accounting for 40% of meat consumption, but by 2007 its share had fallen to 23%. Pig is now the animal of choice, with around 99m tonnes consumed. Meanwhile advances in battery farming and health-related changes in Western diets have helped propel poultry from 12% to 31% of the global total. Although populous middle-income countries such as China are driving the worldwide demand for meat, it is mainly Western countries who still eat most per person. Luxembourgers, who top this chart, are second only to Argentinians in beef consumption. Austrians are the keenest pig-eaters, wolfing down 66kg every year—just more than Serbians, Spaniards and even neighbouring Germans. At the other end of the scale, cow-revering Indians eat only 2.6kg of meat each, the least of the 177 countries assessed. See the full data.


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