The production systems of farm animals are under scrutiny. Systems have to change under pressure from citizen groups and NGO’s towards providing a living environment for animals in which they thrive without the need to apply treatments such as tail-docking, beak-trimming, de-spurring and teeth-clipping. At the same time the environmental constraints increase. Both developments are likely to increase the cost of production, but the revenue is likely to decrease under influence of globalised market conditions. Only acceptable, competitive and cost-effective animal production chains have a future.
The objective of this programme is to provide tools and to identify traits to increase sustainability of production chain in different livestock species through genomics and genetics.
Better understanding of the genetics of animal behaviour benefits production results and improves interaction between animals. Uniformity in a large number of traits makes production more efficient, increases homogeneity of end products and can improve animal welfare due to more homogenous litters. Selection for improved feet and legs will benefit longevity and wellbeing of animals as well as reduce the cost of replacement.
Animal Breeding can help to change animal production systems in a sustainable direction. In this theme breeding companies work together with chain partners to develop innovative solutions for societal concerns like:
- broiler walkability,
- reduction of sexual behaviour and aggression in non-castrates.
- environmental condition non-caged laying hen
Sustainable solutions will be developed for the farmer, society, consumer and animal itself.