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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-05-01 - 2027-04-30

In the project, strategies for breeding for energy efficiency and reduction of methane emissions for the Austrian cattle population are researched and solutions are developed. Measurements of methane emissions are carried out in experimental and practical farms with the GreenFeed system. In addition, further phenotypic traits will be collected and existing data (cattle data network) will be used. The genetic potential of the direct trait methane and CO2 emission and the genetic correlations to health and other traits in the overall breeding value, as well as the factors influencing the methane emission of the animals, will be analysed. This data base will also be used to develop and validate MIR equations. The potential of the indirect trait MIR methane is analysed, indirect traits for energy efficiency are developed. MIR estimators for energy balance will be derived and validated using data from research stations. Their potential for improving energy efficiency will be investigated in conjunction with other traits. Genetic relationships between energy efficiency and methane or CO2 emissions will be analysed. The potential of using indirect traits for energy efficiency and methane emissions for wider use in breeding will be explored and a recommendation for consideration in the breeding objective or programme will be derived. Methane emissions are included in assessments of the climate impact of relevant dairy and beef production systems in Austria.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-06-01 - 2026-05-31

The work programme of the third European Union Reference Centre for Animal Welfare (EURCAW-RE) considers the welfare of ruminants and equines and concerns the following animals: Ruminants (domestic animals of the family Bovidae such as bovine (including Bubalus and Bison species), ovine and caprine), other farmed ruminant species such as deer (e.g. Cervus elaphus); and equines (meaning domestic species of the Equidae family such as horses (Equus caballus), donkeys (Equus asinus) and their crossings). The Centre’s activities may also cover domestic camelids such as Llamas and Alpacas. The activities of EURCAW-RE concern production animals as well as animals kept for scientific purposes and for leisure. The Centre will address the entire life cycle including housing and management, transport, slaughter and killing (e.g. for disease control purposes). The role of Reference Centres for Animal Welfare is closely connected with the enforcement of EU animal welfare rules by developing and disseminating knowledge and tools to assist the NCAs in performing better official controls. The Centres also help stakeholders understand the rules, how to comply with these rules as well as the possible control methods to be used by National Competent Authorities. EURCAW-RE will provide the competent authorities with access to consistent technical data, research findings, new techniques and expertise necessary for the correct application of Union legislation applicable in the field of animal welfare. Furthermore, the activities of EURCAW-RE include the provision of scientific and technical expertise to relevant national scientific support networks or bodies through training courses for staff and dissemination of research findings and technical innovations. These missions lead to five activity categories defined in the work program. The main activities include 1) Identification of animal welfare indicators, methods for assessment and improvement, 2) Scientific and technical studies, 3) Training courses and, 4) Dissemination of research findings and innovations.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-01-01 - 2023-12-31

In the rearing and fattening of pigs, clinical problems, such as diarrhea or respiratory problems, but also behavioral disorders, such as tail or ear biting, can occur even with good management and well designed housing system. As a preventive measure to stabilize animal health, the addition of microorganisms, so-called "probiotics" is discussed as a "natural alternative" to antibiotic treatments. Within the framework of a prospective "multi-farm study" on three pig farms, it will be investigated (weaning to slaughter) whether these probiotics are effective in improving the following aspects of animal health (respiratory tract, diarrhea, microbiome), animal welfare (behavior, tail injuries) and productivity (feed conversion). At the same time, a qualitative survey as well as an exchange of experiences of the participating farmers will take place to ensure the transferability of the findings for practice

Supervised Theses and Dissertations