The worldwide consumption of animal proteins - meat, dairy and eggs - is growing strongly. At the same time, in many Western countries including the Netherlands, we see that a growing group of people want to be more conscious of the consumption of animal protein. A quality product from animals that have had good health, good welfare and positive emotions fits in with that desire.
Different livestock systems
In poultry, laying hens, pigs, calves and cattle we see - in addition to the current systems - a variety of less intensive, more small-scale, organic, circular and nature-inclusive systems. But animals from intensive systems will not automatically function properly in other systems. Ensuring good welfare and health remains crucial.
Measuring animal welfare
It is difficult to measure whether animals are happy, but animal welfare at least means that animals can show their natural behaviour and experience positive emotions. Using behavioural tests and all kinds of physiological parameters, such as stress hormone determinations and heart rate measurements, we can determine how well an animal feels. Wageningen Livestock Research has a lot of expertise in this field.
Adapting stables to the needs of animals
In discussions about livestock farming, much attention is paid to the interventions that are applied to prevent animals from injuring each other. Think of docking tails on pigs that live close together and then sometimes start tail biting. Much of our research focuses on new husbandry systems that are adapted to the needs of animals in such a way that such interventions can be omitted.
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