Knowledge for better food systems

Working paper: Identifying civil society’s research priorities on sustainable livestock and protein

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Civil society organisations play an important role in shaping debates about food, livestock and sustainability. Embroiled in day-to-day discussions about livestock problems and futures, they are often ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying important questions, and in highlighting areas of uncertainty and disagreements between stakeholders which can cause confusion, block action or boil over into hostilities.

This working paper is part of a project run by the FCRN, the Eating Better alliance and the Wellcome Trust-funded LEAP project, who has also funded this work. The project aims to identify livestock- and protein-relevant questions, contestations and misunderstandings that the NGO community feels to be important, and that merit further research. Ultimately, the goal for this project is to come up with a short set of societally-relevant priority topics that could form the basis of interdisciplinary research and wider public engagement.

This paper sets out the insights gained from a series of 14 semi-structured interviews that we have conducted. During the interviews, we asked senior staff members from a variety of NGOs about their perceptions of debates around sustainable livestock and protein: issues that they expect to become critical over the next few years, knowledge gaps where NGOs would benefit from more research, contentious debates where different values clash, and areas of frequent misunderstanding. We have clustered their comments and insights into five broad themes.

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