Pathways project: The future of livestock systems

Sustainable Food Forum

On March 7 the Biodynamic Federation Demeter International took part in the Sustainable Food Forum organised in the framework of the Pathways project in Brussels to discuss the future of EU livestock systems . The Pathways project is a 5-year EU Horizon 2020 project, coordinated by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences comprising 30 partners from 12 countries, among which the Federation. The project aims to identify and increase sustainable practices along the supply and production chains of the European livestock sector.

Pathways practice hubs

With the aim of reducing environmental impacts while addressing societal demands for safe, nutritious, and affordable meat and dairy products, the Pathways project aims to co-develop visions, scenarios and transition pathways for sustainable livestock husbandry and food systems based on innovative practice hubs, living labs and interactions within a European multi-actor platform and wider community of practice.

During the Sustainable Food Forum the different practice hubs – all showcasing innovative solutions of various pathways for sustainable livestock systems – were presented to the audience. The first to be showcased was the one carried out by the Biodynamic Federation Demeter International in cooperation with FiBL, the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture.

The practice hub is dedicated to the Demeter Heumilchbauern, a group of farmers in the southwest of Germany, who decided to put animal welfare and harmonious integration of livestock into their farming systems at the centre of their preoccupation. They implement 100% pasture-fed cow-calf dairy systems and invested in developing solutions to practice on-farm slaughter offering their animals a dignified ending.

Building sustainable farming scenarios

The Sustainable Food Forum was the opportunity to identify and implement more sustainable farming practices within Europe as the Pathways project aims to inform policy, research, and business strategies to support the transition to more sustainable livestock production and consumption, thus contributing to the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, at the heart of the EU Green Deal.

Different storylines were presented and discussed with the stakeholders present among which – Efficiency first, Rural renaissance, High animal welfare, Feed no food. The Federation took part in the storyline dedicated to high animal welfare as it is at the core of biodynamic farming to consistently improve livestock farming practices.

Policymakers, researchers, farmers and other actors from the sector took part in the event enabling lievely and intense discussions that will hopefully be streamlinend in the revision process of the EU animal welfare legislation which focuses for now mainly on animal transport.

Further information

If you would like to find out more, you can find the livestream and all the presentations of the event on the Pathways’ website, along with further information on the project such as the video hubs, the publications and the latest information on the project.

Contact: Clara Behr, Head of Policy and Public Relations

Brussels, 07.03.2024

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