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British Society of Animal Science Welcomes Inclusion of Food in COP28 Agenda, Urges Focus on Methane Reduction

The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) applauds the inclusion of food-related discussions in the agenda of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).

As an organisation dedicated to advancing the understanding and application of animal science, BSAS recognises the critical role that food production plays in addressing climate change and is eager to contribute to meaningful conversations with policy makers on the matter.

The decision to include discussions around food production and its environmental impact at COP28 signifies a pivotal moment in the global commitment to sustainable practices. As advocates for responsible agriculture, BSAS commends the international community for recognising the interconnectedness of food systems and climate change mitigation.

One key area that BSAS urges COP28 delegates to consider is the reduction of methane emissions associated with livestock production. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, has significant implications for climate change. The British Society of Animal Science emphasises the importance of adopting effective and science-based methods to measure, monitor, model and ultimately reduce methane emissions from agriculture.

BSAS calls for the consideration of innovative solutions, including a suite of feed additive products, in the pursuit of methane reduction targets. Research in the field of animal science has demonstrated the potential of feed additives to mitigate methane emissions without compromising the nutritional needs of livestock. These products represent a promising avenue for sustainable and responsible agriculture, aligning with the goals of COP28.

BSAS urges further discussion around the calculation of the impact of methane in our atmosphere, as well as the importance of livestock systems to manage grasslands and maximise the removal of carbon from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration.

Professor Elizabeth Magowan, President of the British Society of Animal Science, commented, "We welcome the recognition of food systems in the COP28 agenda and believe that addressing methane emissions from livestock is a critical component of achieving global climate goals. In recognition of the pivotal role animal-derived foods play in globally providing nutrition as part of a balanced diet, together with their social and economic import, particularly in low-middle income countries (LMIC), scientific research into nutrient neutral food production has been underway for some time. Incorporating methane mitigating solutions, which also support productivity and animal welfare, into modern farming practices, using land to maximise environmental health, and appreciation of the nutritional density of animal-derived foods will make meaningful strides in achieving a balance between food security and climate change challenges.

BSAS remains committed to supporting the dissemination of research and initiatives that contribute to environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices. The Society looks forward to engaging with COP participants and stakeholders to promote collaborative efforts in addressing the intersection between meat and milk production and climate change.