On 28th and 29th November, the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare gathered for an in-person meeting; an opportunity to come together to share information and updates on the member companies’ individual approaches to animal welfare, and their progress and challenges over the last 12 months.
We are most grateful to Tyson Foods for hosting this meeting at their headquarters in Arkansas, and for arranging a very interesting visit to the company’s broiler research facility. Here at this impressive farm, the Tyson team, led by Dr Karen Christensen, is conducting research into lighting, enrichment and assessing welfare outcomes.
Jack Bobo, Director of the Food Systems Institute, University of Nottingham, was our keynote speaker. With over 20 years of experience in food systems, food technology, food policy, consumer trends, science communication, and international relations, he is a recognised authority and thought leader in the field.
He spoke about food production in the context of its environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions, land, energy and water use, and in relation to projected population growth, likely to result in the need for 50-60% more food by 2050 when compared to today. With this in mind, Jack emphasised that the next thirty years are the most important there will ever be in the history of agriculture to create a sustainable food system, of which animal welfare is a key component.
In these decades to come, he said, we should not expect to achieve ‘perfect’ solutions but instead recognise that trade-offs are necessary in the journey toward animal welfare, just as with all sustainability challenges. Accelerating progress requires a deeper understanding of consumer drivers and effective communication with all stakeholders is essential.
Jack’s session was followed by interactive working groups focused on stakeholder engagement as a key challenge that members are facing in their work to address animal welfare.