Two years of co-creation of innovations with the European practitioners, consumers and citizens in the PPILOW project!

– by Anne Collin (INRAE)

The second annual meeting of the European PPILOW project (Poultry and PIG Low-input and Organic production systems’ Welfare, 2019-2024) was held from the 21st to the 23rd of September, 2021. During this 3-day online meeting, the PPILOW partners from 9 European countries shared with members of the project European Multiactor Board and National Practitioner Groups (NPGs) on PPILOW advances. Thanks to its multiactor participative approach, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic and sanitary difficulties due to the avian flu, interactions of PPILOW partners with European farmers and representatives of the low-input outdoor and organic pig and poultry production systems, consumers and citizens were very rich. The project advances this year elicited the qualitative and quantitative preferences of practitioners and consumers concerning the PPILOW-proposed levers of welfare improvements in the target systems, and their potential economic impacts. The project partners released the mobile phone applications for welfare assessment on-farm co-created with the PPILOW National Practitioner Groups: PIGLOW for pigs and an extended version of the EBENE application for poultry. The PPILOW data collection framework further enabling the One Welfare sustainability assessments and the building of business models was also discussed with practitioners. The participants to the annual meeting could discover the set-up and first results of PPILOW experiments aiming at avoiding feather pecking in hens with intact beaks and piglet castration. The PPILOW partners also presented first results on the impacts of rearing dual-purpose genotypes able to produce both eggs and meat in Denmark, France and Germany, and they are currently developing an in-ovo sexing method, hence avoiding the elimination of male day-old layer chicks. Strategies enabling to enhance the robustness and health of pigs and poultry are also under investigation. They deal with the rearing of new genotypes of slow-growing broilers favoring the free range exploration, the selection of pig genotypes and improving of hut designs for sows reared outdoor for decreasing piglet mortality rates. Feeding pigs and laying hens with plant extracts or fermented components as a strategy for decreasing parasitism or bacterial diseases is also explored, whereas studies on early life management levers for increasing broiler resilience are prepared to be launched in 2022. The first results obtained in experimental facilities have enabled to set up with the PPILOW National Practitioner Groups the first PPILOW field studies for evaluating the levers of welfare improvement according to the local preferences and expertise. During this second annual meeting the members of the European Multiactor Board and project National Practitioner Groups reflected on the project multiactor approach involving practitioners and associations, on the PPILOW results and contributed to the project communication strategy towards the practitioners, citizens, consumers and policy makers.

INRAE – credit Armelle Purnier