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On June 21st, ICOS attended a symposium organised by the Belgian Association of Meat Science and Technology (BAMST) and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) on “The role of ruminants in sustainable diets” in Brussels. The event brought together high-level international speakers, who presented the latest science to correctly assess the nutritional and environmental implications of ruminant livestock.

In particular the event highlighted the need to differentiate Methane from long-lived greenhouse gases due to its short-term presence in the atmosphere and recycling within the food production chain. This was presented by Dr Michelle Cain, University of Oxford, whose research had led to the development to a new emission metric for the measuring of the global warming potential, which account for short, and long-term effects.

Prof Martin Scholten, Wageningen University and Dr. Jean Louis Peyraud, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, emphasised the importance of ruminant livestock in transforming non-edible protein into a form of protein edible for the human population. 85% of animal feed globally comes from protein sources which are non-edible for humans. This feed largely comes from marginal land that is not able to produce other products.

Prof Frank Mitloehner, University of California, additionally highlighted the efficiencies that have been achieved in developed countries over the last decades, which must now be replicated in developing countries in order to meet global food requirements without growing herd numbers. This efficiency was emphasised though a presentation of global livestock emissions in context with emissions in the aviation sector

Videos and the copies of the presentations can be found via the following links:

Part 1 : https://webinarsolutions.tv/permalink/v125cfedb9254t6nt0o6/
Part 2 : https://webinarsolutions.tv/permalink/v125cfedc30863e3m50y/
Part 3 : https://webinarsolutions.tv/permalink/v125cfedcd1d6voqdywj/

Alison Graham – European Affairs Executive