About Accelerating Advances in Animal Welfare
Animal health and welfare are key to sustainable food security. Livestock production has intensified in recent years to make meat and dairy products more accessible to consumers; however, the treatment of farm animals in these settings remains controversial. It is often challenging for producers to accommodate natural animal behaviors while reducing injuries and maladaptive behaviors. Additionally, surgical procedures may cause stress and negatively affect animal welfare.
We created the Accelerating Advances in Animal Welfare program to support farm animal welfare research. Animal welfare research plays a critical role in improving sustainable livestock production. This research has the potential to improve animal lives, food quality, farm-laborer work environments and the relationship between our society and the food we eat.
Improving animal production practices includes assessing animal physiology, large-scale alterations in animal housing and environmental and economic impacts. This program pioneers cross-disciplinary research in animal genetics, behavior, biotechnology, husbandry, nutrition, physiology and other scientific areas.
We identified several program priorities including:
- Cage-free poultry welfare, specifically the impact and feasibility of addressing keel fractures; and
- Swine welfare, specifically the impact and feasibility of developing alternatives to castration.