Imagine all the animals, living life in sociable groups

Published on
November 3, 2020

On October 21st, the program anIMAl Group sENsor (IMAGEN) was kicked off. In IMAGEN, researchers of Wageningen University & Research collaborate with various stakeholders to enable and stimulate a transition to sustainable livestock production. The program consists of three projects, each of which is explained in a short video.

Project 1 aims to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for automatic detection of social behaviors in large groups of animals. Project 2 and project 3 apply this technology to study social behavior in pigs and laying hens.

Improving the social functioning of animal groups

Some social behaviors are favorable, such as snout-snout interactions in pigs or dust bathing in laying hens, whereas others are harmful, such as tail biting in pigs or feather pecking in laying hens. By understanding what drives these social interactions, we aim to find management interventions and breeding strategies that stimulate favorable social behaviors. By improving the social functioning of groups of pigs and laying hens we aim to improve the health and welfare of our animals.

A unique collaboration

IMAGEN is a collaboration of Wageningen University and Research, Eindhoven University of Technology and Utrecht University, together with Hendrix Genetics, Topigs Norsvin and several other stakeholders. The program is funded by NWO-TTW.