The Bee Health Symposium analyzes the implications of animal welfare in hives

The event brought together more than 200 beekeeping specialists from all over the world at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid on June 15 and 16.

Inaugural table. From left to right, Noa Simón, scientific director of the European Bee Life project, Jeff Pettis, president of Apimondia, Consuelo Serres, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid, Dolores Sánchez, president of Avespa and Aránzazu Meana, president of the Scientific Committee of the Bee Health Symposium.

With a very agile format, divided between plenary sessions and oral presentations, communications took place for two days, which in this edition had a very clear focus on the well-being of bees. Organized by Avespa (Association of Veterinarians Specialists in Beekeeping Health and Production) together with Apimondia (International Federation of Beekeeping Associations), it is the first time that this event has been held in Spain. As the president of Avespa and the organizing committee of the symposium, Dolores Sánchez, pointed out during the official opening, “despite the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the holding of the congress in 2020, we continue working, and we have exceeded all expectations. in terms of attendance (more than two hundred people from all over Spain and fifteen foreign countries) and level of content presented.” In this sense, she thanked the enormous effort made by everyone who has worked to make the Bee Health Symposium 2024 a success.

Implications of animal welfare and the concept One Health in bee production

Without a doubt, these two issues that are so in vogue are especially relevant in the case of beekeeping. Thus, this is possibly the livestock production that has the greatest implication in the approach. One Health, since it is bees with their pollinating function that ensure the health of the environment, and consequently of animals and people, becoming true bioindicators of health. For his part, Jesús de la Fuente, professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Complutense University of Madrid, in his presentation that began the presentations of the symposium, explained how until a few years ago it was unthinkable to address the issue of the well-being of animals. bees. In fact, there has been no scientific evidence until recently regarding whether insects (or other lower animals such as cephalopods) had consciousness and an emotional part. From here, this well-being can be monitored based on the paradigm of the 5 freedoms that is used in other livestock species (no hunger, no thirst, no pain, etc.). From here, an immense and interesting field opens up. to determine what terms to take into account, how to measure them and how to apply them to achieve optimal health and well-being in our hives.


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