On April 10 this year, the initiative group sustainable breeding (Initiatiefgroep Duurzame Fokkerij) organised in collaboration with the Rathenau Institute a stakeholder workshop ‘new technologies in animal breeding’. The animal breeding companies desire to bring together societal organisations and experts to reflect in an early stage on the use of new technologies (like gene editing). Which was used as a starting-point of this workshop.
During the stakeholder workshop, several societal stakeholders reflected on the questions: what would be the impact of the new technologies on humans, food production, animal and the environment? Under which circumstances would these technologies fit within corporate social responsibility? Which organisations will be discussion partners?
During the meeting, it became clear that positioning new technologies in a understandable way is very important and to show how these new technologies fit within the scope to have a socially responsible sustainable animal husbandry. For the animal breeding organisations it is, however, important to take into account that the discussion with society will be about the entire livestock farming, not only focussing on animal breeding. Focussing on (technical) details of breeding technologies does not relate to questions of the society. Which can result in miscommunication. Discussions about animal breeding will always take place in the context of a conversation about the whole animal husbandry. Due to the fact that choices in animal breeding might have large impact on humans, animals, and food production, it is important to make the choices in an responsible way. Therefore, the initiative group sustainable breeding will use the action points that came out of the stakeholder workshop – thinking about technologies, communicating in broad contact – in their action plan 2015-2017.