UK animal scientists are set to take to streets this weekend to call for better support for livestock research as part of a global march for scientists.
The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) will join thousands of scientists around the country to call on government to recognise the need for policies which are based on sound science and fact.
The society will also urge policy makers to understand the risks Brexit poses to UK livestock research, and identify ways it can ensure the country remains a world leader in animal science.
Taking place in more than 500 locations around the world, including London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester in the UK on Saturday (22 April), the March for Science has been organised by scientists who are concerned that the sector is being trivialised and politicised by policy makers.
Researchers want government to recognise how important science is to the country’s economy, and address their concerns that Brexit could lead to funding and research opportunities being limited.
BSAS chief executive Bruce Beveridge said: “At a time when the world is facing some of its biggest challenges around food security and climate change, the need for sound and properly-funded science is more important than ever.
“The livestock sector plays a vital role in supporting the UK’s economy and food security, but to be able to thrive it needs to be properly supported by a research sector which has the capability to develop solutions.”
Mr Beveridge said that animal scientists were already expressing concerns about access to funding outside the European Union, and said the government needed to provide clear assurances that the sector would be properly supported post-Brexit.
“We want a world-leading, competitive and profitable food and farming sector that is supported by the latest research,” he added.
“Without support from government, we risk our livestock sector being irreparably damaged, with fewer animals, an altered landscape and destroyed rural communities.
“We believe we can continue to lead animal animal science outside the EU, but we need to be given the all the tools to do that.”