In previous editions Cheese has focused on animal welfare, proper nutrition for milking animals and the biodiversity of breeds and, both in conferences and in tasting workshops, the animal kingdom has always had a special place. But this year the event aims to go a step further, and under the slogan ‘Let’s take care of animals’, the organizers wanted everything to be centered around this key question: “If there were no animals, there would be no cheese, nor many others. things ”, explain those responsible for this 2021 edition.
The animal world, protagonist of Cheese
And, according to the FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – there are 7,745 local breeds, of which 26% are at risk of extinction. In the specific case of Europe, half of the races that existed at the beginning of the 20th century have already disappeared. The extinction of a race is an irreversible loss, and not only in genetic terms: behind each race there is an ecosystem, a culture, a trade, a gastronomic tradition and an economy. Furthermore, as highlighted by a study by the Weizman Institute in Rehovot (Israel), “if we consider the weight of the total mass of mammals on the surface of our planet, humans represent 36% of the total weight, farm animals the 60% and the rest represents 4%. In other words, two thirds of land mammals are those that are providing food for humanity ”,
“This figure made us think and convinced us that once again the complex relationship between humans and animals was at the center of this issue of Cheese. It is the right time to do it. If there is one thing we have learned from COVID-19, it is that our relationship with nature must be recalibrated. We have to fight to establish a healthier balance with the world around us. We have to learn not to behave as if we were the owners of this planet, but as mere tenants with a duty to respect our neighbors, be they cows, sheep, goats, wild animals, bees or other pollinators, even bacteria and microorganisms. . All of them, in some way, influence the process that allows us to obtain milk and, therefore, cheese ”, comments Serena Milano, Secretary General of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity.