How can we accompany the animals with dignity into the future?

We warmly invite you to the Agriculture Conference 2015! The contribution made by farm animals is in many ways irreplaceable. The keeping of livestock today however is facing serious challenges. These concern firstly the ethical relationship we have to animals, secondly the way we understand their essential nature and mission and thirdly how we integrate them into the farm on a daily basis. Against the background of a justified concern about factory farming it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain social acceptance for the idea of keeping livestock at all. Every use of animals is considered to be exploitation. If we bear in mind however that this partnership between humans and animals has existed for several thousand years, such a rejection of 'brother animal' is culturally regressive. The question facing us is: How can we accompany animals with dignity into the future? To answer this question, we need to ask ourselves: What is the essential nature of animals? What is their task? Linked as an evolutionary sibling of humanity, the animal kingdom with its huge diversity of form and physical specialisations has from a certain point of view laid the foundations for human physical existence. With its capacity for evolving spiritually, the human being has been charged with responsibility for the animals. "Please tame me" sais the fox to the little prince. This means in effect: Include me in your cultural development. Are we able to do this in agriculture and society today? In nature and on the farms, animals create habitats. Each animal species needs and supports its own habitat. How can such mutually dependent living spaces be realised in such a way that the farm becomes a 'cultural biotope' for our animals? More concretely: How do we achieve the necessary 24 / 7 a week care? How do we value the keeping of cattle? Is it possible to breed a farm specific herd? These are questions that we will explore together during the Agriculture Conference 2015 through lectures, dialogue workshops, research reports and experiential sketches. Recent developments from across the world will be presented and provide inspiration for our life and work with animals. UELI HURTER;       JEAN-MICHEL FLORIN;     THOMAS LÜTHI

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