If there were no animals, there’d be no Cheese, nor much of anything else. And that’s the theme of Cheese 2021: Consider the Animals.

It’s not as if we’ve never talked about animals before. In previous editions we’ve focused on animal welfare, adequate nutrition for milking animals, and the biodiversity of breeds.

From the conferences to the Taste Workshops, the animal kingdom has always enjoyed a special place. But through considering the animals we want to take another step forward and make the whole of Cheese revolve around this central argument.

Consider the animals: reimagining our relationship with nature

Consider the animals
Cover image: Rove Brousse Goat Cheese, Slow Food Presidium – France. Photo: Federico Trotta & Nicola Robecchi

This is the right time to do it. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Covid-19, it’s that our relationship with nature must be recalibrated. We have to strive to establish a healthier equilibrium with the world around us.

We have to learn to behave not as if we were owners of this planet, but mere tenants with a duty to respect our neighbors, be they cows, sheep, goats, wild animals, bees and other pollinators, right down to bacteria and microorganisms.

A world within cheese

Cheese is a chance to live the most sincere and joyous sense of what our relationship with the animal kingdom can and should look like. That sense is contained in cheese. The cheese of a herder who cares for their herds or cattle, taking them to the best pastures, and leaving free to move and graze on their favored plants, which are naturally rich in essential nutrients. Who milks their animals and cares for them when they’re sick. Who understands how precious animals are for the wellbeing of the planet, as well as for the joy contained in cheese.

A herder’s whole life revolves around considering the animals, and is lived alongside them. Without considering the animals, they couldn’t exist. But it’s something we should all be doing, too. Out of love. Out of respect. And because there’s no other way forward if we want to ensure a healthy future on this planet.

Consider the Animals will run through all the areas and activities at Cheese 2021: from the conferences to the Taste Workshops and the market stands.

We’ll explore one of the most complex and successful aspects of our existence on this planet – our relationship with the animal kingdom – and share all the beauty that comes from it.