The societal role of meat: The Dublin Declaration with an Australian perspective

David W. Pethick, Wayne L. Bryden, Neil J. Mann, David G. Masters, Ian J. Lean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


It is clear that the societal role of meat is being challenged with ideological and simplified logic without substantiation from robust data-driven science. With this background, the international summit titled 'The societal role of meat - what the science says' was held in Dublin, Ireland, during October 2022, to provide evidence-based evaluations and the Dublin Declaration was signed by over 1000 scientists. In this paper, we provide a synopsis of the summit and then give context for evaluating the societal role of meat in Australia. The key themes of the summit were the essential roles of meat in (1) diet and health, (2) a sustainable environment and (3) society, economics and culture. Evidence clearly showed the role of meat as a nutrient-dense source of high-quality protein and micronutrients that can be safely consumed by humans. Further, the complementary role of livestock in agricultural systems was highlighted with both plant- and animal-based agriculture reliant on each other to maximise the efficient production of food. Thus, from both an Australian and world perspective, very little food considered to be human-edible is fed to livestock. The role of livestock in rural societies across the world was emphasised to underpin regional and national economies, with particular importance in those countries with developing economies to facilitate growing wealth to 'step out' of poverty and provide gender equality. Meat production, particularly from ruminants, is a critical part of Australian primary production and it is concluded that the Dublin Declaration is highly relevant to Australia. Finally, concern regarding future funding and organisation of research and extension is discussed. There is a need to continue funding highly collaborative programs that bring a broad range of disciplines together, in conjunction with undergraduate and postgraduate teaching to underpin the social license to operate for meat and livestock production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1805-1826
Number of pages22
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2023


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