Cheese 2021: Slow Food Commits to Promoting Animal Welfare in Europe

Slow Meat campaign to be a priority for the movement over the next three years.

“Consider the animals”: This theme was the guiding thread that ran through four days of meetings, debates, tastings and educational activities at Cheese, the international event organized every two years by the City of Bra and Slow Food with the support of the Region of Piedmont. During Cheese 2021, held September 17 to 20 in Bra, cheesemakers, herders, farmers, experts and representatives from other organizations came together to discuss the relationship between humans and animals and between farming and the environment.

“Cheese is a step along an important journey, one that we must all participate in so that we can encourage concrete alternatives to factory farming, ensuring a reconciliation between animal farming and the land ,” said Marta Messa, the coordinator of Slow Food Europe.

She added: “The threats posed by climate change and the emergence of zoonotic diseases are closely linked to the intensive farming of animals, one of the main greenhouse gas contributors. We must start by listening to producers and dialoguing with institutions in order to ensure a real transition towards a sustainable and integrated food system. We are working for greater respect towards animals and for the adoption of more sustainable diets based on less meat and dairy, in part thanks to the promotion of the biodiversity of legumes.”

Carlo Petrini at the inauguration of Cheese 2021

over the next three years, slow food will:

  • continue to work alongside the producers to support methods of animal farming that correspond to the natural needs of each breed and are respectful of their welfare, as well as being less impactful on the environment. In particular, Slow Food will publish a new position paper on animal welfare, with a focus on an integrated approach to the health of the animals, the environment and people.
  • collaborate actively on the process of revising the animal welfare strategy that the European Commission is currently carrying out and which is one of the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy, through participation in consultations and by inviting European Commission representatives to events like Cheese, where these issues are at the heart of the debate.
  • promote climate-friendly diets, in particular by advocating for the consumption of alternative, biodiverse proteins, such as beans and pulses.
  • map other groups working to promote and preserve legumes in Europe within its network and beyond in order to explore and strengthen collaborations. Slow Food will focus on carrying out such work in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Latvia in 2022, expanding its scope to the Balkans and the Iberian peninsula in the following years.
  • continue collaborating with the Meatless Monday and Let it Bean! initiatives, involving around five European municipalities each year, with the main objective of encouraging the consumption of legumes as a climate-friendly food.
  • keep pushing producers to adopt agroecological practices that, unlike conventional agriculture, are based on preserving an essential genetic heritage that can adapt to different environments and serve as a resource for fighting new diseases and adapting to new environmental conditions created by climate change.
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