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animal welfare & sustainability

Advancing animal welfare to meet sustainability targets

Sustainability is considered to be composed of three conceptual pillars: economic, social and environmental. Farming systems are under pressure to reduce their environmental impact, but must remain economically viable and be socially acceptable. There are growing societal demands for animal production systems to be more sustainable, safeguarding both the environment and the welfare of animals. We need to produce animal-sourced food with improved animal welfare and less environmental impact. The Farm to Fork initiative and the One Health ambition recognise that there is a need to improve farmed animal welfare, which in turn will lead to an improvement in animal health, reducing the need for medication, helping to preserve biodiversity and raising the quality of food. However, it is not yet known how to deliver sustainable food animal production systems, nor how to measure progress towards this goal and what compromises might have to be made along the way. In this session, we will examine the relationship between animal welfare and sustainability in the various animal husbandry systems, describing challenges and potential solutions. Also, we will consider sustainability assessment tools that have been developed to gain insight into the sustainability performance of animal husbandry systems, including animal welfare, with a view to assessing their potential future role in regulatory science.

Session Coordinator

Session coordinator
Sean Ashe (EFSA)

Session Contributors

Session contributors
Denise Candiani (EFSA)
Yves Van der Stede (EFSA)
Maria Veggeland Vaeret (EFSA)


Abstract Session Chairpersons
  • Mette Herskin, Aarhus University
Abstract Session Speakers
  • Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming - Improving animal welfare can deliver triple sustainability win
  • Linda Keeling, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) - Animal welfare: Moving forward to help score sustainable development goals
  • Laura Higham, Food Animal Initiative (FAI) and Vet Sustain - Understanding synergies and trade-offs in sustainability outcomes in food animal production
  • Gesa Busch, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen - Public perceptions of animal husbandry and welfare: how to respond properly? 
  • Eddy Bokkers, Wageningen University and Research - Animal welfare in a circular food system
  • Pol Llonch, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona - Benefits (and challenges) of digital transformation of livestock agriculture for animal welfare and environmental sustainability
  • Francisco Aurelio Galindo Maldonado, Universidad Autonoma de México - Sustainable livestock systems: integrating the provision of environmental services and animal welfare measurements
  • Harry Blokhuis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) - Key stages in the implementation of the PATHWAYS project
Abstract Session Moderators
  • Nikolaus Kriz, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
Abstract Session Panellists
  • Laura Higham, Food Animal Initiative (FAI) and Vet Sustain
  • Linda Keeling, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
  • Pol Llonch, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
  • Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming
Abstract Session Rapporteurs
  • Sean Ashe, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Mariana Geffroy, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Eliana Lima, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Yves Van der Stede, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)