What about the environmental impacts of farming? According to a major 2011 study led by Robert Nasi, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (Cifor), a switch to cattle to provide protein in place of wild animals would have huge impact.
Hunters, says Nasi, take about 4.5m tonnes of bushmeat a year from forests in the Congo basin and possibly 1.299m tonnes in the Amazon. “We would need to transform large areas of tropical forests or savannas into pasture to replace [this amount of] bushmeat by cattle. For comparison, Brazilian beef production is considered responsible for about 50m hectares [124m acres – twice the size of the UK] of deforestation. If bushmeat consumption in the Congo basin was to be replaced by locally produced beef, an area as large as 25 m hectares might have to be converted to pastures.”