The narrative posited by cultured meat proponents is that animal agriculture requires large amounts of land and water and produces high levels of greenhouse gases (GHG). The environmental impacts of a product, such as a beef hamburger, is then compared to the anticipatory ones for producing a cultured hamburger patty through tissue engineering-based cellular agriculture. While it is true that conventional meat production has a large environmental footprint, the problem with this dichotomous framing is that it overlooks the rest of the story.
The British High Commissioner to Kenya, His Excellency Mr Nic Hailey, made a courtesy visit to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) on Tuesday, 31 July 2018.
According to Reuters, the Gates Foundation will pump $40m into research for higher-yielding dairy cows, as well as chickens that lay better quality eggs, livestock vaccines and ‘supercrops’ that can withstand droughts or disease.
During the visit Ms Mordaunt also announced plans to develop the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, which is based in both Edinburgh and Nairobi. The centre uses the most recent scientific advances in genetics and genomics that are being used by farmers in the UK and apply these to help smallholder dairy and poultry farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and Nick Hurd, international development minister for Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), argue in the Guardian’s Global Development blog this month that the world needs to put science at the heart of development. Two of the examples of success that they cite are initiatives of ILRI.
Scientists will use funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to look at how genetic information can improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates. The institutions in Scotland and Africa where the researchers are based are also making additional contributions, taking the total funding pot to £20 million over the next five years.
Scientists from . . . CGIAR . . . are setting up a “preemptive breeding” program to develop livestock with resistance to potential widespread outbreaks of currently localized diseases to help reduce some of the losses that would occur. CGIAR scientists presented their preemptive breeding strategy and new evidence of threats from climate change to the science advisory body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on June 4.