Cattle Crossroads

Researching Danish Livestock Production for the Future

This project explores ways to envision and generate a new solid research basis for a future green production of livestock in Denmark and beyond. The Danish livestock sector is one of the most effective and knowledge-based in the world, building on a long history of collaboration between science, industry and authorities. A series of techno-scientific improvements have turned Danish cattle into more efficient production units than cattle in many other countries, and this history of optimization is often seen as proof of a sustainable production. However, singling out the Danish livestock sector as relatively better than elsewhere is not sufficiently ambitious if we are to achieve the Danish goals for green transition. Instead, Cattle Crossroads takes green transition literally, by working from the principle of absolute environmental sustainability assessments, implying finite planetary resources and that no production activity can exceed its allotted share.

 

To fulfil this aim, the project merges anthropology and veterinary and animal science to identify and proactively repurpose the theoretical and practical knowledge domains that condition Danish cattle production. Through collaborative interdisciplinary fieldwork in two shared research sites, Cattle Crossroads focuses on the knowledge junctions where scientific, theoretical and practical choices are made about how to produce cattle in a green future. Exploring how knowledge about livestock production is articulated, codified, contested, funded and shared among different professionals in the field, the project will build a capacity to navigate the crossroads that animal production spurs in an era of climate change and spark a renewed debate about de-growth, as is appropriate for the Earth’s finite resource conditions.