The challenge

AnimalFuture assessing the trade-offs between the different aspects of sustainability at all levels from the farm, to the region and to the EU.

Growing concern on the sustainability of current agricultural systems –and livestock farming in particular– has triggered intensive research in the field. So far, most research has focused on single sustainability aspects from either an economic, ecologic or a social perspective. Interrelations between these aspects or translocation effects have not yet been taken into account. Sustainability is a complex issue. It needs to be addressed comprehensively to avoid neglecting side effects. AnimalFuture does exactly this by capturing and assessing the various aspects of sustainability at different levels - from farm to region to European level.

Identifying innovations and examining cross-scale consequences of sustainability actions is just part of the story. In order to become more sustainable, the livestock sector requires public support - from customers to policy makers. The public needs to be informed about the numerous benefits livestock farming provides so as to enable a constructive dialogue between agriculture and society and to find solutions that suit all stakeholders. AnimalFuture through its intensive outreach activities will not only help raise public awareness but also help to improve farmer’s self-image.

Above all new solutions need to reach their target users. While much academic research is carried out on sustainability issues in agriculture, the transfer of knowledge from the academic to the user side is very often problematic. Farmers and other decision makers, who are planning to carry out sustainability measures, need to be provided with easy-to-understand information on how these measures will affect other sustainability aspects (or other regions). For this purpose, AnimalFuture will develop an easy to use decision support tool to support farmers and other end-users in making the most sustainable decisions for both animal’s and society’s future.