On the 1st – 2nd of September the Danish Board of Technology and Wageningen University held a joint workshop in Copenhagen, which brought together 18 stakeholders and RUMIGEN partners, representing farmers, breeders, consumers, animal welfare advocates, researchers, and ethicists. The workshop helped the RUMIGEN project to further develop and assess the ‘Room of Acceptance’ for the technologies being developed in the project, with the intention of ensuring that the outcomes of RUMIGEN are both impactful and socially acceptable. This workshop was an important step in assessing the approach and findings in the Room of Acceptance. Work on the social acceptability of genetic technologies in husbandry will continue throughout the duration of the RUMIGEN project and will also involve citizen engagement in several countries across the EU.
Many topics were covered during the workshop, but a few highlights include discussions about the need for a balance between increases in production efficiency and animal health & welfare, as well as ways to ensure that the introduction of genetic technologies in husbandry does not limit the options and free choice for different actors in the value chain as well as consumers. Participants also highlighted that there should be limits to genetic technologies’ impact on the integrity and wellbeing of animals. Lastly, the wider context that RUMIGEN exists in was also discussed, and it was noted how the technologies being worked on in the RUMIGEN project can contribute to food security in the future, while keeping in mind that relative disadvantages across actors are not increased.