Genomics for Lower Carbon Footprint Livestock?
Conference Recording May 13, 2013
About the Speaker
Ann Bruce is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in both social and natural sciences. Her research interests cover innovation and regulation of life science industries, particularly involving animal biosciences. Much of her research has involved understanding emerging life science developments in their commercial, social, ethical, policy and regulatory environments.
Methane emissions from cattle and sheep have gained increasing profile in the context of climate change. As well as reducing consumption of meat and dairy products, a range of different technical solutions, including genomics, have been suggested as providing ways of reducing these emissions. However, historically beef and particularly sheep farmers in the UK have been slow to adopt genetic techniques. I will report on some research that seeks to understand why this is the case. The research consisted of 42 semi-structured interviews with farmers and farming industry representatives throughout the UKNo one, single barrier to adoption of genomic techniques was found. Instead there is a complex array of cultural, economic and other barriers to adoption, many of them inherent in current production systems. In terms of methane emissions, livestock farmers viewed this as a natural product that has always existed and perceived few ways in which methane production can be reduced.