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and animal feed industries.

Feed for Thought

Is the animal production industry still part of agriculture?

September 22, 2011

My email box is chirping, reminding me once again how much I depend, like so many of you, upon new technologies. What about this new email? It comes from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Very official sounding, isn’t it?) It reports that the global forum on the knowledge economy, which took place September 12-13 in Paris, was focused on “Better innovation policies for better lives.” A very attractive title. And so are the themes of the two days. Day one: “Improving National Science and Innovative Policies” (how to achieve more with less – once again a strong line) … specifically strengthen knowledge exchange between science and industry, boost entrepreneurship and seize opportunities for green innovation. Day two: “Science and Innovation for Inclusive Development.” There we go again with shared innovation and cooperation; this time at the international level.


It reminds me of another email I recently received from another official organization: “At the launch of a new Global Soil Partnership for Food security and Climate Change Adaptation, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf warns that pressure on the world's soil resources and land degradation are threatening global food security. A renewed international effort is needed to assure sufficient fertile and healthy soils for today and future generations.”


The link seems quite clear between preservation of natural potential and innovation. And nothing will occur without shared objectives and research.


The animal production industry might help to attain this objective with a sustainable use of animal fertilization and a reduction of phosphorus and proteins excretion. With nutrition analysis of animal needs and precise production of feed, the feed industry might contribute even more to sustainable development.


But don’t say that too loudly.


As more and more meat and animal products are said to be poisonous for human beings and/or for the environment, we must ask some questions: Is the animal production industry still part of agriculture? Is it socially acceptable to stay omnivorous?


Are we at the merger of a new paradigm concerning food production? More and more so-called intellectuals are vegans and organic is a kind of refuge for foodies. The real question is why we eat rather than how our food is produced. This opens new doors in talking about animal production; it can’t stay just a technical and economical subject. The animal production industry must accept that it has become more and more a sociological and anthropological field of research.

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