This was the theme of the discussions at a dinner hosted by the Animal Task Force in Brussels earlier this week, bringing together key stakeholders from across the livestock sector.
Speaking at the event, Mairead McGuinness MEP, said “I’m really glad that the Animal Task Force exists and is raising the profile of livestock. There is a danger that the sector will not survive unless livestock viability improves”. She went on to underline the importance of “economic and environmental sustainability and the need for better value distribution along the supply chain”. She also highlighted the need for improved communication between the sector and the European Parliament to improve understanding of the challenges being faced.
This view was supported by Francois Houllier, President of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), who welcomed the bringing together of industry, research and politicians. “Industry and science have to learn from each other”, said Mr. Houllier. He agreed on the importance of the economic viability of the livestock sector and went on to say that “environment, health and welfare are key priorities; we must also bring breeders and animal health professionals together to improve animal robustness and meet consumer demands”.
Key note speaker Leo den Hartog, Director of Nutreco, outlined some of the opportunities for livestock to contribute to a sustainable Europe, including system innovations, animal health and welfare and environmental footprint. However he also considered “governance, stakeholder involvement, funding and a level playing field” as critical factors for the success of efficient and sustainable production, which was also recognised by Herman Verstreijlen, Director at the Directorate-Generale for Agriculture.
The dinner took place on the eve of an international seminar on ‘Resource-use efficiency in the livestock sector’, hosted by the Animal Task Force in collaboration with Copa-Cogeca and the FAO. Here policy-makers, industry and researchers came together to consider the competitiveness of the EU livestock sector in the context of resource scarcity and climate change and identified priorities for a European Agenda of Action for a sustainable livestock sector.
The Animal Task Force also welcomed a new Management Board, Chaired by Martin Scholten, Wageningen UR, with John Oldham, SRUC, and Dawn Howard, EFFAB, as Vice-Chairs.
The Animal Task Force promotes a sustainable and competitive livestock sector in Europe. We are a leading body of expertise, representing key stakeholders from industry and research from across Europe.
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