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A decrease in US meat production by 2025?

Humans are biologically omnivorous, and with relatively few exceptions human societies have included meat a central (and often desirable) food source. The steady growth of per-capita wealth and population has thus lead to a steady growth in the number of animals killed each year worldwide.

There are, however, some significant countervailing trends. Arguments based on health, animal welfare, resource usage, and environmental impact have led to the steady growth of vegetarian and meat-reduced diets. Hand-in-hand, the food industry has developed a number of meat alternatives and vegetarian-friendly products, with more advanced products as well as more radical possibilities (such as cultured meat) in development. How important will these trends be?

The National Agriculture Statistics Service carefully tracks meat production in terms of pounds produced, value produced, animals slaughtered, and per-capita production. Here we focus on the total weight of meat produced, compiled in this table. The table shows that meat production has steadily (but not quite monotonically) increased since 1988 from 62 billion to 76 billion pounds. We ask:

In 2025 will overall us meat production be lower than in 2020?

Question will resolve positively if the NASS numbers for total livestock meat production in pounds are smaller for 2025 than for 2020.


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