Expected Impact

No. Horizon 2020 societal challenges PPILOW commitment
1 “Provide the knowledge base for further improvements in animal welfare management and policy making” Through a multi-actor and participative approach, involving farmers, other production chain actors, consumer/citizens and experts, the PPILOW project will identify the barriers and levers to pig and poultry welfare (in both laying hens and slow growing broilers) in organic and low-input-outdoor farming systems. It will propose experimentally- and on farm-validated tools and management practices to improve animal welfare. Decision tools and recommendations for producers/production systems that can be applied on a pan European basis will be provided and disseminated through on-farm demonstrations and training, and meetings with stakeholders, citizens/consumers and regulators. Each contribution will be published on a website for publicity and sharing of information with stakeholders and citizens. Strong connections will be established with existing EIP-AGRI Operational Groups linked to animal welfare, and practice abstracts in the EIP format will be produced.
2 “Contribute to a better understanding of animal welfare and associated animal behaviour” Throughout the PPILOW project, expertise of each link of the production chain (producers, selection firms, innovative private companies, production organizations, livestock technicians, processors, citizens/consumers) and scientists will be shared to identify levers for welfare improvements through animal behaviour observation, health status determination as well as robustness phenotypic markers, risk evaluation and the determination of critical periods. The project will study the behaviour of entire male pigs and piglet robustness depending on the genetic background and management conditions. In poultry, it will provide new knowledge on the adaptability of poultry breeds to the use of outdoor area depending on their cognitive capacities and genetic, physiological, metabolic background and rearing conditions for proposing innovating levers for welfare improvement The impact of a wide range of environmental conditions encountered in partner’s countries on animal welfare will be assessed for understanding how innovative strategies to avoid the killing of day-old male layer chicks can be implemented throughout Europe.
3 “Contribute to a broader range of animal welfare management strategies and tools” and “Contribute to increase the range of animal welfare management strategies and tools” Management strategies to avoid piglet castration and poultry mutilation (e.g. beak trimming) will be proposed, with practical management solutions to limit the associated risk of increasing boar taint, aggressiveness and mounting behaviours in pig or feather pecking in poultry. A technique for non-invasive in ovo sexing and the optimization of crossbreeding and nutrition strategies depending on the environmental context (dual-purpose chicken) will be tested experimentally and demonstrated on farm to avoid the killing of male day-old layer chicks. Mobile housing facilities for outdoor rearing of pigs will be developed, experimentally tested and demonstrated on farms across the member states, to reduce the risk of piglet mortality and encourage outdoor rearing at a larger scale in the EU. Management, and nutrition strategies and techniques aiming at preventing diseases, detecting and reducing lesions, parasitic risk, improving incubation and early-life conditions (poultry), parental flock management (sows), and selection tools to improve animal robustness will also be proposed, selected after validation on farm and demonstrated. Such strategies will require multidisciplinary approaches combining housing and rearing, physics, nutrition, genetics, agronomics and veterinary skills. The PPILOW project also has the ambition to develop welfare self-assessment tools through multi-actor exchanges and to disseminate them freely to farmers. These tools used by poultry and pig farmers and technicians will themselves be evaluated on several flocks and herds for welfare improvements within WP3. This broad range of multidisciplinary approaches will be completed by the provision of viable business models for the use of entire males for pig production and dual-purpose chicks, and the use of in ovo sexed male eggs.
4 “Contribute to solving long-standing welfare related issues in organic farming, notably in poultry” PPILOW will contribute to tackling the following long-standing welfare issues identified in organic and/or low input outdoor rearing systems: parasites infection/infestation due to low veterinary inputs or outdoor farming systems (e.g. Eimeria, worms, red mite), higher mortality and morbidity rates than in conventional systems, risk of suboptimal nutrition due to specific requirements (95% to 100% organic feeds). In particular, the PPILOW project will seek the reduction of mortality rates to levels comparable to those obtained in conventional systems (less than 5% in broilers and then 14% in piglets) through crossbreeding, nutritional, enrichment and rearing strategies. With the use of the outdoor area being not currently optimized for laying hens or slow growing broilers, sometimes only half of the birds never observed using the outdoor area, the PPILOW project will deliver management and crossbreeding strategies to optimize the use of the outdoor area. It will address the question of finding new approaches to avoid damaging behaviours in organic and low-input outdoor systems free of pig and poultry mutilations.
5 “In the long run, projects shall increase the sustainability of the livestock sector by better responding to consumer demands and/or increasing competitiveness of the sector” The anticipated sustainability gains generated by the proposed solutions or combined levers will be evaluated through multi-criteria analyses in each production system (laying hens, dual purpose and slow-growing broilers, pigs). Evaluation will take into account social aspects (e.g. production system and product perception by practitioners and citizens, employment and territory, image, health and human and animal welfare criteria, quality) economic aspects (e.g. production efficiency, competitive advantage for organic/low-input production systems) and environmental aspects (e.g. N and P release, greenhouse gas emission), in accordance with the One Welfare concept. The economic viability and gains in competitiveness acquired by using the proposed solutions will be assessed through dedicated economic and business models. The exploitation of PPILOW results will be favoured by the multi-actor approach developed, allowing the co-creation of new strategies and tools and taking into account the ethical point of view of citizens from the start of the project. Furthermore, several production actors (including 7 SMEs) are part of the consortium (as real partners and through the European Multi-actor Board and National Practitioner Groups) and will benefit from the PPILOW project to develop/optimise tools and products to be put on the market (insect enrichment/innovative feeds, in ovo sexing and selection tools, farrowing materials, welfare self-assessment tool).