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Scientific community told to step to plate, solve challenge ahead

As world demand for food grows, available supply of protein is shrinking, creating a challenge that must be solved.

Today’s animal and dairy science communities have both an opportunity and a challenge before them. The opportunity is the growing demand for food. The challenge is a decreasing food supply.

Over the course of the next decade, 3 billion people will move out of poverty and into the middle class. As they do, they will demand 60% more milk, meat and eggs, according to Dr. Todd Armstrong of Elanco Animal Health who spoke at the AnimalX Ted-style Talks during the opening session of the 2016 Joint Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Adding to that statistic, by 2050, there will be more than 9 billion people on the planet who will have to be fed — all during a time when some 20% of the world’s livestock is being lost each year. It's a loss that Armstrong estimated represents 60 million tons of meat and 150 million tons of milk. “The fundamental fact is: You can take away the tool, but you can’t take away the disease,” he said.

“I look out on this room, and what I see is a group of people that have the expertise, the drive and a passion deep inside to take care of this situation,” Armstrong told the group, adding that it is time to bring down the barriers and biases and instead apply mutual expertise to find the needed solutions. “The world is counting on you. The world is counting on you to look at this problem that is in front of us,” he said.

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