Animal welfare awareness in society has increased notably in the recent decades and better animal welfare is within the major demands of consumers in the European food market. Consumers appreciate proactive ways to control animal health, and they rank efficient monitoring of animals and their housing conditions as highly preferred measure. It is interrelated in livestock production, which represents a major actor in the food industry.
To increase transparency of animal production, there is a need for reliable data on the welfare of farmed animals. This information can assist both consumers and producers to make decisions from a different perspective. Producers need to monitor the welfare status of animals with reliable and up-to-date information as early-warning systems, before implementing corrective and timely measures. Consumers are demanding clear information about farm animal welfare to assist them in identifying and choosing enhanced welfare-friendly products.
Recent advances in precision livestock farming (PLF) technologies allow systematic and automated monitoring of the welfare status of farm animals. However, there is still the need for an integration of the different aspects of animal welfare (i.e. health, nutrition, comfort, emotional state and natural behaviour) into edible information that could assist stakeholders to make decisions.
- Identifying the needs and requirements of consumers and producers about welfare awareness and future management approaches.
- The development of new approaches based on innovative technologies that increase monitoring of behaviour, stress and other welfare indicators.
- The adaptation of current existing technologies to a new approach that can assess those indicators, while ensuring the reduction of pollutants by economically feasible processes.
- Designing new business models for consumers to identify and choose welfare-friendly products.
- Contribution of all stakeholders to the building of a new animal welfare approach.