IMAGEN: a better life for pigs and laying hens

Published on
February 5, 2020

​The IMAGEN program brings together research of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and others on animal behavior and computer sciences. The objective is to improve animal health and welfare and reduce the ecological footprint of our food production.

In the IMAGEN program, the researchers will develop an Artificial Intelligence system to automatically detect individual behaviors in large groups of pigs and laying hens. The system should automatically detect actors and victims of anti-social behaviors such as feather pecking and biting.

Data from this system will be integrated with genomics data to identify individuals that are genetically superior with respect to social behavior. By using these individuals as the parents of the next generation, natural genetic variation in social behaviors can be exploited for sustainable genetic improvement of populations of pigs and laying hens.

The project is a collaboration of Wageningen University and Research, Utrecht University, and Eindhoven University of Technology, together with Dutch breeding and technology companies, organizations of farmers and veterinarians, and the Dutch organization for the protection of animals. The program is funded by NWO-TTW in the context of the Perspectief instrument.