Sources of meat

The most common sources of meat are domesticated animal species such as cattle, pigs and poultry and to a lesser extent buffaloes, sheep and goats. In some regions other animal species such as camels, yaks, horses, ostriches and game animals are also eaten as meat. To a limited extent, meat is also derived from exotic animals such as crocodiles, snakes and lizards.

For thousands of years, poultry supplied meat and eggs, cattle, sheep and goats provided meat and milk, and pigs provided a source of meat. These species are the main sources of animal protein for humans. The meat derived from cattle is known as beef, meat derived from pigs as pork and from chickens as poultry. Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world accounting for over 36% of the world meat intake. It is followed by poultry and beef with about 33% and 24% respectively.

Estimated world livestock numbers (million head)

 

 

1987

1997

2007

% change
1987-2007

Bovine   

1345

1469

1558

16

Porcine

821

831

993

21

Poultry

10

16

19

95

Ovine

1431

1721

1913

34

 

 

Background:


Sources of the world`s meat supply in 2007