Global Strategies to Minimize Environmental Impacts of Ruminant Production

Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2022 Feb 15:10:227-240. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-020420-043152. Epub 2021 Nov 15.


Demand for ruminant products (dairy products, beef, and sheep meat) is increasing rapidly with population and income growth and the acceleration of urbanization. However, ruminant animals exert the highest environmental impacts and consume the most resources in the livestock system. Increasing studies have focused on various measures to reduce ammonia, greenhouse gas emissions, and resource depletion from ruminant production to consumption. This review offers supply- and demand-side management strategies to reduce the environmental impact of ruminant products and emphasizes the mitigation potential of coupling livestock production with cultivation and renewable energy. On a global scale, more attention should be paid to the green-source trade and to strengthening global technology sharing. The success of these strategies depends on the cost effectiveness of technology, public policy, and financial support. Future studies and practice should focus on global database development for sharing mitigation strategies, thus facilitating technology innovations and socioeconomic feasibility.

Keywords: ammonia; cost–benefit analysis; demand side; greenhouse gas; supply side; sustainable agriculture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Environment*
  • Livestock
  • Meat
  • Ruminants*
  • Sheep