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Animal welfare and health

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Towards animal-friendly production systems

Why are chickens beak-trimmed? Why are calves separated from their mothers? Why do pigs have so little room to move? Consumers' questions such as these do inspire farmers and policy makers to work on more animal-friendly production methods. But to achieve genuine improvements in farm animal welfare is not easy.

System-level solutions

Our vision at the Louis Bolk Institute is that a healthy farming business needs healthy animals. Our systems approach to animal welfare and health enables us to find system-level solutions. We look at animal behaviour, and consider farmers' interests. Our central objective is to improve animal welfare. But not without taking into account the practical and economic feasibility of changing production systems.

Broad expertise, firmly rooted in practice

Drawing on our broad expertise and working directly with farmers, we are able to find solutions that work in practice. Stakeholders such as poultry breeders, Dierenbescherming (Dutch society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs appreciate our practical advice. For instance, we have found that feather-pecking can be minimized when chickens are given plenty of roosting space and enough floor litter for scratching and foraging. And thanks to our research, dairy farmers better understand the pros and cons of keeping mother cows and calves together.