For this year's SPACE, the organisers and their partners have chosen animal welfare as the central theme of the Espace for the Future. For more than 20 years, this topic has been regularly addressed at Europe's leading livestock trade show. This year will be an opportunity to provide concrete answers, but also to open up discussions, debates and visions on this subject with members of civil society.
We decided to address this theme based on the 5 freedoms defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. The World Organisation for Animal Health defines animal welfare as 'the physical and mental state of an animal in relation to the conditions in which it lives and dies'. The ANSES defines positive welfare as 'the satisfaction of its physiological and behavioural needs, as well as its expectations'.
In Western France, a land of livestock farming, concerns about animal welfare are not being ignored. The Chambers of Agriculture, the Technical Institutes, and the economic and technical organisations that support livestock farming incorporate this concept into their research and development programmes. Production systems are diversifying and technical innovation is supporting the changes.
The SPACE organisers, who are very attentive to the needs of livestock farmers and their partners, began focusing on the subject of animal welfare in early 2000, addressing the theme on numerous occasions in the 'Research and Development Village'. Animal welfare is a key concern of farmers, as evidenced by their farming practices. But what about the well-being of the farmers in this context of sometimes contradictory requirements? In 2019, France’s Economic and Social Council stated that 'there can be no welfare of animals used in food production without satisfactory living and working conditions for the human beings in charge of their farming, transport and slaughter'. This notion guided us in developing the Espace for the Future 2021: Animal Welfare and Farmer Well-being.
Debates at the Espace for the Future
Today, SPACE is the leading European livestock show. For this reason, the organisers have decided to schedule debates on the issues of animal welfare in the farming sectors. Each day, a debate will be held bringing together farmers, production organisations, professional associations, scientists, distributors and non-profits (animal rights activists, consumers, etc.).