We know facts alone aren’t always enough to alter narratives which include misinformation about animal agriculture, and we also know that shared values are the best place to start a conversation. How can we apply these communication principles to conversations around controversial topics like cell-based meat? What is the role of animal scientists and others in animal agriculture in these discussions and how can we learn from past mistakes? University of California, Davis’ Alison Van Eenennaam, PhD, will share her thoughts on these timely questions in the first preconference webinar of the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2021 Virtual Stakeholders Summit.

The Alliance’s annual Summit brings together thought leaders in the agriculture and food industries to discuss hot-button issues and out-of-the-box ideas to connect everyone along the food chain, engage influencers and protect the future of animal agriculture. The 2021 event, themed “Obstacles to Opportunities,” is scheduled for May 5-6 with preconference webinars planned for the five business days prior, including Dr. Van Eenennam’s session, which kicks off the series on Wednesday, April 28th.

Farmers and ranchers interested in attending the Virtual Summit are encouraged to enter the Alliance’s photo and video contest. To enter, competitors need to post a photo or video showing their farm’s resiliency and adaptability over the years on Instagram with the hashtag #AAA21 and tag the Animal Agriculture Alliance (@animalagalliance). Be sure to include a caption about how your farm has remained resilient and why you’d like to attend the 2021 Virtual Summit! Entries must be posted by March 26 to be considered to win one of five prizes, including free Virtual Summit registration!

The Virtual Summit agenda featuring the exciting and high-caliber speakers you can expect to see at the 2021 event has been posted on the Virtual Summit registration website. Sessions will highlight ways to position animal agriculture as a path forward to climate neutrality, how to elevate the voices of farmers in dialogues surrounding food and agriculture, and strategies for virtual stakeholder and influencer engagement.

In Dr. Van Eenennaam’s presentation titled “Animal Scientists and Cell-Based Meats: Learning from Past Science Communication Failures,” she will discuss how the collective work of animal nutritionists, geneticists and veterinarians has dramatically reduced the environmental footprint of animal-sourced food, and as such touches on some of the very same goals of reducing the environmental footprint of food production espoused by cell-based meat companies.

“We’re excited to have Dr. Van Eenennaam feature some of the key narratives we hear in conversations surrounding animal-source foods and alternatives, identify shared values between the two, and provide tools to counter false narratives with objective evidence,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “The animal agriculture community is using science and innovation to address the global protein demand challenge, and we may find some opportunities to collaborate in unexpected ways as we share that story.”

Dr. Van Eenennaam is a cooperative extension specialist in the field of animal genomics and biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis. Her publicly-funded research and outreach program focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her current research projects include the development of genome editing approaches for cattle. She frequently provides a credentialed voice on controversial scientific topics, and has appeared on national media including The Dr. Oz Show, NPR, Science Friday, and the Intelligence Squared debate series. She also appeared in the 2017 documentary Food Evolution narrated by science-communicator Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Be sure to check the Virtual Summit website for the most up-to-date information and to register. You can also follow the hashtag #AAA21 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit please contact summit@animalagalliance.org.

Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance