The British Society for Animal Science held its annual conference recently on a solely virtual platform for the first time. Over 500 delegates, from UK, Ireland, EU, and across the globe came together online to view presentations on the most important issues facing animal production today.

Those attending were representing research, academia, industry and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as Government policy makers.

Key sessions of interest included the Hammond lecture where Dr Alison Van Eenennaam from UC Davis Department of Animal Science in California, presented a truly excellent lecture on “Animal agriculture and alternative meats: learning from past science communication failures”. This and other presentations are now available for viewing through the BSAS website.

Other notable sessions included ‘Global Net Zero” chaired by John Gilliland of Devenish, in which Dr Elizabeth Magowan presented the CIEL report on “UK livestock and Net zero” alongside eminent scientists from Brazil, Australia and Africa – all on the topic of how these countries are tackling net zero in livestock.

Continuing strong AFBI involvement

This event saw AFBI continue to build upon its solid links with BSAS, with Dr Elizabeth Magowan, Head of AFBI Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division taking on the role of Vice President, this year. She therefore chaired the organisation committee (OC) for the first ever BSAS virtual meeting, joined on the committee by Dr Steven Morrison Head of Livestock Production Sciences Branch at AFBI Hillsborough. Together they guided the development of the programme, attracted sponsorship from industry partners and secured keynote speakers. Steven organised important sessions such as ‘Data and digitalisation session’ in conjunction with Digital Catapult.

The conference also was attended by 25 AFBI scientists, many of whom presented papers and posters, from through the various sector based sessions. This underlines AFBI’s continuing commitment to this event and the strong outputs of animal science advances within the UK and Ireland.

In 2024 the conference will be in Belfast when Dr Elizabeth Magowan will be President of the BSAS, so the planning build-up for that starts soon.

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