The FAO recently published “World agriculture: towards 2015/2030”. The publication confirms the ongoing demand for meat.
Figure 1 illustrates the ever increasing dominance of pig and poultry meat. Note how poultry consumption is growing at a far greater rate than pig meat. Why is this? The answer is most probably because the increases in meat consumption are in areas where many are unable to eat pig meat.
Figure 1 - World Average Meat Consumption per Person
Pig and poultry have several advantages over ruminant meat producing species. The main reasons are that they are monogastric and produce multiple births during the year, but why is this important?
At best some ruminants may produce twins or triplets, but most produce single offspring. A breeding sow will produce 20 plus surviving piglets in two litters in a breeding season. Commercial chicken produce in excess of 300 eggs per season.
Multiple births from the same genetics enable producers and nutrition specialists to minimise the variables when evaluating and developing genetics, rations and management systems. This is one reason why pigs and poultry producers have become so successful at improving production and feed conversion over recent decades. Thus enabling them to produce quality meat protein at ever reducing cost - not only financial but also on use of our prescious resources.
Ostrich have this ability and their meat can be consumed by populations unable to eat pig meat...thus providing those population groups with greater choice.