The European Commission (EC) is providing up to € 10 millions over 5 years in a major new research project designed to improve the welfare of poultry and pigs reared in organic and low-input outdoor farming systems.
The PPILOW (Poultry and Pig Low-Input and Organic producing systems Welfare) project will involve participants across the food chain, from farmers to consumers, citizens, scientists and policy makers.
It will also provide a combination of practical solutions for welfare improvement that can be applied on a pan-European basis, taking into account target markets and public perception. The project, which is being led by the French Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, will co-create with end-users welfare self-assessment tools, innovative breeding and rearing strategies and techniques for improving the welfare of animals.
Among the welfare issues the project will cover are:
Brain cells indicate hen welfare
Dr Tom Smulders, a neuroscientist, says that the welfare of the birds is actually a function in their brain. “So you should also be able to see in the brain of the animal whether it feels good.”
PPILOW will run until August 2024 and be coordinated through a number of working groups.
The project involves 23 partners from 9 European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania and the UK). The first abstract papers from the project are expected to be presented at the World Poultry Congress.
Swiss consumer preferences boost domestic poultry production
A recent survey found that Swiss consumers have a clear preference for eggs and poultry meat of Swiss origin and are willing to pay significantly more for them. What factors have played a role in this Swiss preference?