Between 1990 and 2015, the Swiss agricultural industry reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases by a significant 11.2%. The Swiss ecological balance for animal products is already better than that of many other countries. Agriculture with a focus on sustainable production, the importance of roughage for the husbandry of cattle and sheep, and numerous environmentally certified handling plants contribute to this. The utilisation of by-products of food processing and short transportation routes also have a positive effect. However, animal husbandry must ensure that the number of livestock directly competing with humans for foodstuffs continues to decrease. This means the following for Swiss meat production: Agriculture with a focus on sustainable production (Proof of Ecological Performance, ÖLN), efficient use of grassland, optimisation of resources from the food processing industry (the use of valuable components of slaughter by-products, the consistent re-use of by-products from the food industry) as well as adequately maximising the feed rations with domestic production.
Acting as a reservoir to reduce CO2
Although agriculture produces emissions, it also serves as a reservoir (soil rich in humus reduces CO2), a feature not shared by the other sectors of industry.
Milk and milk products
The production of meat is linked to the production of milk. Dairy cows also produce CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. Cows only produce milk if they give birth to a calf every year. This must be taken into account in ecological considerations. In 2015, almost 51.5 kg of meat and 121 kg of milk and milk products were consumed per person in Switzerland.