We share our planet with a wide variety of animals, and not only in the wild; people also keep animals, for example for food or for company. Wageningen University & Research is committed to protecting wild animals and improving the health, welfare and living environments of domesticated animals. The knowledge we develop with our research contributes to achieving this.
Animals in the wild need to be protected, which is why our researchers study such aspects as population change, distribution, behaviour and diets of wild animals, both on land and in water.
People eat animal products such as eggs, meat, fish and dairy products. It is important that these foods are produced responsibly, with adequate attention for animal welfare and the health of both people and animals. To this end, we conduct research into the health, welfare, breeding, nutrition and environmental impact of livestock.
Wageningen University & Research wants to learn more about how pets and other domesticated animals interact with their environment and how we can create the ideal conditions to improve these animals’ welfare. To this end, we study the behaviour, nutrition, breeding and health of various species of pet animals such as cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and parrots.
Animal health is an international issue, as has been demonstrated by various outbreaks of animal diseases such as bird flu, African swine fever and Zika. We want to prevent such outbreaks wherever possible, and when they do occur they need to be contained as quickly as possible. We conduct research into infectious animal diseases and animal health in general. We are also committed to reducing the use of antibiotics in animals and decreasing the likelihood of resistance developing and both humans and animals.
Animal food products
The world’s population will increase to 9.5 billion people by 2050. The demand for animal food products is expected to double. How can we produce these products sustainably, responsibly and safely? And how can we ensure our livestock are fed healthy, sustainable and efficiently produced feed? We conduct research into all aspects of sustainable livestock farming, such as a circular agrofood system.
Societal debate on livestock farming
The debate on livestock farming is characterised by a huge diversity of opinions and interests. Dutch people eat an average of 38 kilogrammes of meat each year. This is a source of income for a large group of people, while some other people believe eating meat is wrong. Some people think hunting wild boar is fine while others are fiercely against it. Wageningen University & Research studies the societal issues related to human interaction with animals. Furthermore, we are collaborating with Utrecht University in the Centre for Sustainable Animal Stewardship.
Innovation centres and facilities
Wageningen Livestock Research has very extensive facilities for research and innovation. We operate a range of experimental farms for both fundamental and applied research, primarily involving farm animals.We have two centres for innovative research: Dairy Campus and the Swine Innovation Centre (VIC Sterksel).
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