Current generations are eating more meat than even one or two generations ago, putting increased demand on farmers to raise and produce meat for consumption. Additional pressure is put on farmers to produce meat at a cheap price for the end consumer. These pressures have led to CAFOs, or concentrated animal feed operations, across America.
Due to the confined environment and large number of animals within a CAFO, huge volumes of grains, antibiotics, hormones, and energy are needed to raise the animals to slaughter. These animals release high levels of fecal matter, methane gas, and antibiotic resistant bacteria into the local environments.
The UN report suggests the recent horse meat scandal is just one of many types of contamination of the food chain taking place behind closed doors. In the United States and Europe, regulation of the meat supply varies depending on the locale. Companies routinely relocate their products from plant to plant and nation to nation in order to avoid many regulations.
By reducing meat consumption, the amount of pollutants making their way from the CAFOs into the air, soil, and water supplies would be greatly diminished. Further, it could help to prevent further superbugs from becoming resistant to antibiotics. The UN calls this reduction "demitarians", allowing for some meat, but not current levels experienced in the Western diet.