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The Greenhouse Gases & Animal Agriculture (GGAA) conferences have an established and successful track record with the 1st conference held in Japan in 2001, with 200 delegates from 20 countries, the 2nd in Switzerland in 2005, with 160 presenters from 30 countries and the 3rd in New Zealand in 2007, with 232 registered delegates from 46 countries. Most of these delegates are active scientists in this field, with about 10% of delegates being from industry and government policy.

JOIN US in the Canadian Rocky Mountains for the 4th International Conference on Greenhouse Gases and Animal Agriculture Conference (GGAA). This is an opportunity to present the latest scientific advances in the area of greenhouse gas research in animal agriculture and contribute to providing information that industry and governments need to achieve cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation outcomes.

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.

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Intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production, also known by its opponents as factory farming, is a type of intensive agriculture, specifically an approach to animal husbandry designed to maximize production, while minimizing costs. To achieve this, agribusinesses keep livestock such as cattle, poultry, and fish at high stocking densities, at large scale, and using modern machinery, biotechnology, and global trade. The main products of this industry are meat, milk and eggs for human consumption. There are issues regarding whether intensive animal farming is sustainable or ethical.

There is a continuing debate over the benefits, risks and ethics of intensive animal farming. The issues include the efficiency of food production; animal welfare; health risks and the environmental impact (e.g. agricultural pollution and climate change).

Intensive animal farming is a relatively recent development in the history of agriculture, and the result of scientific discoveries and technological advances. Innovations from the late 19th century generally parallel developments in mass production in other industries in the latter part of the Industrial Revolution. The discovery of vitamins and their role in animal nutrition, in the first two decades of the 20th century, led to vitamin supplements, which allowed chickens to be raised indoors. The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines facilitated raising livestock in larger numbers by reducing disease. Chemicals developed for use in World War II gave rise to synthetic pesticides. Developments in shipping networks and technology have made long-distance distribution of agricultural produce feasible.

Agricultural production across the world doubled four times between 1820 and 1975 (1820 to 1920; 1920 to 1950; 1950 to 1965; and 1965 to 1975) to feed a global population of one billion human beings in 1800 and 6.5 billion in 2002.:29 During the same period, the number of people involved in farming dropped as the process became more automated. In the 1930s, 24 percent of the American population worked in agriculture compared to 1.5 percent in 2002; in 1940, each farm worker supplied 11 consumers, whereas in 2002, each worker supplied 90 consumers.

The era of factory farming in Britain began in 1947 when a new Agriculture Act granted subsidies to farmers to encourage greater output by introducing new technology, in order to reduce Britain's reliance on imported meat. The United Nations writes that "intensification of animal production was seen as a way of providing food security." In 1966, the United States, United Kingdom and other industrialized nations, commenced factory farming of beef and dairy cattle and domestic pigs. From its American and West European heartland, intensive animal farming became globalized in the later years of the 20th century and is still expanding and replacing traditional practices of stock rearing in an increasing number of countries. In 1990 intensive animal farming accounted for 30% of world meat production and by 2005 this had risen to 40%.