Routinely collected data on animal health and welfare from the various links of the animal production chain should be combined in order to optimize the production chain and allow benchmarking. Increasing transparency of animal production chains and getting a handle on improving animal health and welfare of farm animals is of utmost importance.
The need to exchange data along the production chain was is the main conclusion of recent research of Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre/Wageningen UR Livestock Research about the impact of breeding on welfare of broilers. This work was followed by the identification of pilot projects about better use and exchange of animal health and welfare data for broiler, veal, pork and egg production chains. Data can be used for animal breeding (‘upstream’) or data can accompany the animal or product along the production chain (‘downstream’) .
Collaboration between various links of the production chain is crucial to further improve animal health and welfare, and, for example, reduce use of antibiotics, as a consequence. At this moment in time, all links in the production chain collect data for various reasons. Exchange of collected data between parties involved in the production chain has significant potential for chain optimisation and benchmarking. Exchange of data between parties along the production chain, however, is not only technically complex, but also from an organisational (how to organise data exchange) and legal point of view (ownership of data). Further work is needed to create commitment between stakeholders along the production chain and to develop business models together making better use of data.
For Breed4Food partners (four Netherlands based breeding companies and Wageningen UR), this is an important research theme. Breed4Food has the ambition to achieve breakthroughs which have both a positive economical and societal impact.