Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ClearFarm (Co-designed Welfare Monitoring Platform for Pig and Dairy Cattle)
Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-03-31
If farm animal welfare is to make a significant progress, we need to have scientifically validated systems to assess the welfare of animals. These assessment systems shall provide reliable information to consumers so that they can make informed choices when buying animal foods and, ideally, information on animal welfare and on the environmental impact of farming should be combined.
In this context, the ClearFarn project aims to develop and validate a system to assess the welfare of pigs and dairy cattle using information that can be automatically gathered on the production farms and with a particular focus on welfare issues that have an impact on the environment.
We have also reviewed the existing validated and commercially available technologies that could be used for sensor-based welfare assessment in dairy cattle and pigs. Our findings show that existing technologies are potential tools for on-farm animal welfare assessment in pig and dairy cattle production. However, validation studies are lacking for an important percentage of market available tools. In particular research and development need to focus on identifying technologies to assess the animals' affective states or emotions, both positive and negative.
Finally, we have started several trials on pig and dairy farms to validate several automatic recording systems that hopefully will provide valid information on the behaviour and affective state of farm animals taking into account consumers' expectations.