Due to the omnivore physiology of humans, our health is best served by a varied diet including foods from animal sources.
Proteins from animals are of high quality, easily digested, and contribute a quarter of global protein consumption.
Animal-derived foods contribute an estimated 13% of global calorie intake and are rich in important micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, iron and zinc.
Animal-derived foods contribute to food security, as many animals can feed on grass, leaves and other plant materials indigestible to humans. Livestock convert large amounts of by-products and waste material, for which there is no alternative use, into valuable products.
Economically, the livestock sector provides livelihoods to more than a billion people, including many of the world's poorest who depend on livestock as their last resort. The livestock sector comprises an estimated 40% of total agricultural GDP.
New farming and processing technologies, including those that decrease the environmental impact from livestock, combined with new insights in nutrition and the elucidation of the genomes of food-producing animals provide a strong basis for further growth of the livestock sector, ensuring that it can contribute to nourishing the expanding human population.