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Alert! Food Waste Reduction Could Threaten Birds, Animal Species

Oct 26, 2016 04:40 AM EDT

Efforts in reducing food wastes have become an important campaign across the globe. This is to properly secure more food available for the people and reduce risks of accumulating waste. But a study tried to raise a different light to food waste reduction: if food wastes are largely reduced, what will happen to animals that depend on it?

In a research led by James Cook University, findings on the projections about efforts on food waste reduction have provided another way to view the situation. Quoting Hector J.F. Campbell (1980) on Popular Tales of the West Highlands, "one man's rubbish is another man's treasure" seemed to be the team's base concept.

According to the study's corresponding author, Iain Gordon, a professor at James Cook University and deputy vice chancellor at Tropical Environments and Societies, we waste 40 percent of the food that we produce. “So what is the implication of removing that waste from the system? There may be some species then that face a significant decline in their populations,” Gordon pointed out.

Read Here: Reducing agricultural loss and food waste: How will nature fare?

The group cited different cases of animals that depended on our food and agricultural wastes. For example, migratory birds are highly dependent on overspills of farms along the way. The team noted that increasing agricultural efficiency with less food waste may pose hunger to these birds that have been traveling the skies for long periods.

The bald eagles and seagulls in the U.S. were also mentioned, wherein reduction of food waste that ends up in landfills can greatly reduce the food source of these species. Meanwhile, in Europe, the population of vulture has dramatically decreased, as associated with the mad cow disease, since carcasses were buried by farmers instead of left in the open.

But based on the statement of Environmental Management Professor Martine Maron of the University of Queensland, the paper's idea is quite interesting enough to reconsider food waste management but has focused on the bigger picture of food insecurity for the people.

“It’s a no-brainer. Reducing food waste reduces the amount of food we have to produce and producing food creates a lot of problems for our wildlife,” Maron said, as cited in the Conversation. “We just need to make sure we aren’t having any unintended consequences. And if we are, that we can come up with solutions to help any species that might suffer as a result.”

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