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Animal welfare management in a digital world

Buller, Henry and Blokhuis, Harry and Lokhorst, Kees and Silberberg, Mathieu and Veissier, Isabelle (2020). Animal welfare management in a digital world. Animals. 10 , 1779
[Article Review/Survey]

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Abstract

Simple SummaryThe digital revolution opens possibilities to use multiple sensors, a data infrastructure and data analytics to monitor animals or their environment 24/7. Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) offers significant opportunities for a holistic, evidence-based approach to the monitoring and surveillance of farmed animal welfare. To date, the emphasis of PLF has been on animal health and productivity. If PLF develops further along these lines, there is a risk that animal health and productivity define welfare. A combined multi-actor approach that brings together industry, scientists, food chain actors, policy-makers and NGOs is needed to develop and use the promise of PLF for the creative and effective improvement of farmed animal welfare, not only taking into account their physical welfare but also their mental one.Although there now exists a wide range of policies, instruments and regulations, in Europe and increasingly beyond, to improve and safeguard the welfare of farmed animals, there remain persistent and significant welfare issues in virtually all types of animal production systems ranging from high prevalence of lameness to limited possibilities to express natural behaviours. Protocols and indicators, such as those provided by Welfare Quality, mean that animal welfare can nowadays be regularly measured and surveyed at the farm level. However, the digital revolution in agriculture opens possibilities to quantify animal welfare using multiple sensors and data analytics. This allows daily monitoring of animal welfare at the group and individual animal level, for example, by measuring changes in behaviour patterns or physiological parameters. The present paper explores the potential for developing innovations in digital technologies to improve the management of animal welfare at the farm, during transport or at slaughter. We conclude that the innovations in Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) offer significant opportunities for a more holistic, evidence-based approach to the monitoring and surveillance of farmed animal welfare. To date, the emphasis in much PLF technologies has been on animal health and productivity. This paper argues that this emphasis should not come to define welfare. What is now needed is a coming together of industry, scientists, food chain actors, policy-makers and NGOs to develop and use the promise of PLF for the creative and effective improvement of farmed animal welfare.

Authors/Creators:Buller, Henry and Blokhuis, Harry and Lokhorst, Kees and Silberberg, Mathieu and Veissier, Isabelle
Title:Animal welfare management in a digital world
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:10
Article number:1779
Number of Pages:12
Publisher:MDPI
ISSN:2076-2615
Language:English
Publication Type:Article Review/Survey
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Keywords:animal welfare, precision livestock farming, welfare management, welfare monitoring, welfare assurance
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109114
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109114
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3390/ani10101779
Web of Science (WoS)000586818100001
ID Code:19147
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:10 Dec 2020 13:43
Metadata Last Modified:15 Jan 2021 19:18

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