Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-02-01 - 2026-10-14

The Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy highlighted the relevance of higher animal welfare standards in future EU agricultural policy. One of the foreseen activities is to link the CAP financial support to Member States (MSs) with welfare indicators; however currently there are no simple, reliable indicators of welfare that can be easily collected across the EU to identify farms at risk of poor welfare. Mortality has been suggested as a possible indicator but used alone it is not a sufficiently sensitive welfare proxy. EFSA has developed a risk-based model for the farm-level assessment of dairy cow welfare which considers additional variables alongside mortality. This model has the potential to be used for EU dairy welfare monitoring, but it requires testing with data from commercial herds prior to application. This project aims to carry out data collection activities in the field of dairy cow welfare on-farm based on the risk-based model developed by EFSA. The ultimate goal is to test (and if needed, optimise) the risk-based model to provide a basis for future monitoring dairy cow welfare in the EU.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-11-01 - 2026-10-31

The currently most widespread housing system for fattening pigs are unstructured pens with fully slatted flooring, which may be economically and labor-economically advantageous, but hardly meet the needs of the animals regarding normal behavior. The aim of IBeSt+ is therefore to develop a scientific basis for legal framework conditions, subsidy guidelines and label pork production in Austria, which better meet the demands of the animals and society, taking into account the economic limitations of the farms. For this purpose, factors that can influence animal welfare (e.g. space available, design of the lying area, ventilation, feeding, origin of the animals) will be identified on the basis of 30 existing farms in Austria participating in quality assurance programs (15 farms with +60% space available, 15 with + 100%). For this purpose, behavioral indicators (e.g., tail biting, lying positions), clinical indicators on the live animal (e.g., tail and ear lesions, lameness, soiling) and at the slaughterhouse (e.g., lung lesions), and treatment records (e.g., respiratory diseases) and production data (e.g., mortality, weight gains) will be collected based on three farm visits at different times of the year. The data are pooled with existing data from the 8 IBeSt farms, analyzed and characterized. Thus, combinations of factors (e.g. more space + reduced percentage of slatted floor) can be presented, which have a particularly beneficial effect on animal welfare aspects on the farms. This characterisation will also be used to evaluate economics and labor management. For a wider uptake of improved husbandry systems, knowledge about motivation and obstacles of farmers to participate in such label programs is crucial, information, which will be collected during interviews. In this way, a scientific basis can be provided that contributes to the further development of housing systems as an alternative to the existing fully slatted pens in terms of animal welfare
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-01-01 - 2033-12-31

The European Partnership Animal Health & Welfare (EUP AH&W) will provide society with a sustainable production for both terrestrial and aquatic animals, where infectious animal diseases are prevented and controlled, antimicrobials are used prudently, and a high level of animal welfare is provided in every phase of animal’s life. The objectives of the EUP AH&W fit in with the European Green Deal and its associated Farm to Fork strategy for a fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly food system. From its start, the EUP AH&W includes 56 Research Performing Organizations (RPO) and 30 Funding Organizations (FO) from 24 EU and non-EU European countries. The RPO partners provide significant research-based advice to competent authorities in the EU and are the backbone of Animal Health & Welfare (AHW) research in Europe. They collaborated to transpose 16 actions from the EUP Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (EUP SRIA) into 17 joint internal projects. The FO partners will contribute through external calls to further R&I actions from the EUP SRIA not covered by internal activities as they require other expertise or industry participations. Due to the close link between animal health and welfare and human well-being, the One Health-One Welfare perspective will take a prominent place in the EUP AH&W. The mobilisation of resources from both RPO and FO together with EC co-funding will allow the Partnership to achieve ambitious goals for AHW at the transnational level, in Europe and beyond. New technologies develop rapidly and provide new R&I opportunities for AHW, to be included in the EUP AH&W as joint internal activities and projects initiated through external calls. The management will set up appropriate procedures and methodologies to ensure a fair coverage of AHW, of terrestrial and aquatic animal species, the various priority areas and to ensure the uptake of the results in the midterm (outcomes) and long term (impact) for science, society and policy.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations