A word about the project
The objective of aWISH is to develop and offer a cost-efficient solution to evaluate and improve the welfare of meat-producing livestock at a large scale, across Europe. This approach will be developed and evaluated in close collaboration with all actors involved, from primary producers up to policy makers and citizens. At the heart of the aWISH solution is the automated monitoring at the slaughterhouse of complementary animal-based indicators for monitoring welfare on-farm, during (un)loading, transport and slaughter. Besides that, existing or routinely collected data (slaughterhouse data, antibiotics usage, farm data, etc.) and needed technologies on-farm or on- transport to complement the measurements at slaughter will be exploited. Piloting and development activities will be done in 6 broiler chicken and fattening pig production chains across Europe (FR, PL, ES, NL, AT, RS), using a lean multi-actor approach, in order to test and validate the project results. Novel sensor technologies and AI algorithms will be developed, and a
feedback tool and interface will allow each actor in the chain to get direct feedback of each batch, visualize trends and benchmark animal welfare outcomes. An Animal Welfare Indicator Catalogue will disseminate all validated indicators and standardized data collection methods. From the pilot data, animal welfare initiatives taken at operator, chain, regional or national level will be assessed alongside their environmental and socio-economic impact at operator and sector level. Next to that, 9 Best Practice Guides will be developed to improve key welfare issues in pigs and broilers, and to help external actors deploy the aWISH technologies and feedback tool. How the feedback loop guides and motivates each party to take actions to improve animal welfare will be tested in a longitudinal study, and the needs, perceptions and barriers of all actors from farm to fork incl. the consumer will be researched to maximize impact of the aWISH results.
- Develop a catalogue of animal welfare indicators (AWI) to assess the welfare of fattening pigs and broiler chickens, covering the various domains of animal welfare and all stages of the production cycle; based on validated measurements collected automatically at the slaughterhouse or routinely on farm / transport.
- Develop novel automated sensor systems for validated and standardized collection of AWI and (AI) models to aggregate AWI for AW assessment at farm/chain/regional/national level, based on expert validation
- Pilot the aWISH tools and integrated solution in six regional broiler and pig production chains across Europe (FR, PL, ES, NL, AT, RS), in order to test and validate the project results and to collect standardized data for the further assessment of the impact of the proposed solutions
- Develop a feedback tool for specific, real-time AW evaluation for each actor in the production cycle (farmer, catching team, transporter, slaughterhouse) and best practice guides (BPGs) with advice towards AW improvements
- Investigate the AW status and effect of AW improvement strategies (best practices) on operator and regional/national level, via an integrated AW assessment and a spontaneous intervention study
- Investigate the socio-economic and environmental impact of AW improvement strategies, with the inclusion of the needs, perceptions and barriers of all actors from farm to fork incl. the consumer
This project will build the capacity to improve farm AW at large scale level as effectively and efficiently as possible. This aspiration is reflected in the focus on broilers and pigs, and in the methodological approach. Figure 1 depicts the key concept of aWISH with the following main results:
(1)AW data: broiler and pig AWI measured with automated technologies at the slaughterhouse, routine and existing data sources; with guidance on what to measure and how bundled in an AWI Catalogue;
(2) aWISH data platform and feedback tool: a centralized data platform that generates feedback and benchmarking visualisations for the various actors in the production chain;
(3) Integrated animal welfare assessment: based on the collected data, methodologies for aggregated AW assessment at farm, chain, regional/national level are developed and a spontaneous intervention study will evaluate the impact of the entire feedback loop on AW;
(4) Guidance on best practices (BPs) incl. impact assessment: guidelines for BPs to improve AW (Best Practice Guides (BPGs)), incl. results of impact assessment on environmental and socio-economic level of these BPs;
(5) Supporting mechanisms: stakeholder engagement incl. expert panel, lean multi-actor approach and piloting activities, and a multi-dimensional impact assessment of proposed BPs (AW, socio-economic and environmental assessment).
- Pilot 1: Gelderland, the Netherlands + extensions to the rest of the Netherlands and Germany
- Pilot 2: Catalonia, Spain + extensions to the rest of Spain
- Pilot 3: Yonne, France + extensions to France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria
- Pilot 4: Poland + extensions towards France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Poland
- Pilot 5: (second phase): Upper Austria, Austria + extensions towards the rest of Austria
- Pilot 6: (second phase): Vojvodina, Serbia + extensions towards the rest of Serbia
- Compile a list of valid AWI for fattening pigs and broiler chickens
- Determine whether there is appropriate data collection or technology available in the market or TRL≥8 to measure each indicator and to identify areas that deserve further research.
- Determine the characteristics of each indicator and methodology, including validity and feasibility, to aid decision making on the selection of most suitable indicators.
- Determine which of the stages of production and AW domains that a given indicator is assessing based on existing literature or data analysis / experimental work when necessary.
- Weigh / develop an algorithm based on the selected AWI using expert and relevant stakeholders’ opinion in order to select appropriate combinations and aggregate AWI at farm, chain, regional and national level
- Prepare the pilots, the installations and technologies and establish an implementation plan and timeline
- Set up standardized data collection protocols, data sharing agreements, and organize data exchange with WPs
- Support the pilots by finding synergies and joint activities between them
- Serve as a facilitator between other WPs and pilots
- Monitor and evaluate activities, extracting validation results, KPIs and lessons learned of pilots
- Develop (a) central data platform and (b) user interface for business operators (farmers, loaders, transporters,slaughterhouse at all 6 pilots) to receive direct feedback of each batch, benchmarking vs. comparable operators
- Improving AW / assessing the impact on AW improvements via (a) the aWISH automated monitoring and feedback loop, (b) identification of risk&success factors for AW outcomes, (c) evaluation of welfare-improving initiatives imposed by an operator or by regional/national authorities, (d) spontaneous intervention study
- Development of BPGs for fattening pigs and broiler chickens, for the different stages of the production chain, and linked to certain AWI, for recommendations on actions to undertake for AW improvements
- Socio-economic and environmental assessment making use of data from pilots and intervention studies
- Improving AW /Econ. comparison of improved AW strategies with current state of the art (costs and benefits of value chain)
- Looking for synergies and minimizing trade-offs between AW improvement and environmental impacts
- Social analysis of the needs, perceptions, constraints and willingness to pay for AW improvement (marketability) of value chain actors and consumers
- Engagement of key actors & stakeholders in an expert panel and setting up of a collaborative network
- Ensure the effective administration of project activities according to the GA and EU regulations
- Ensure efficient liaison with the EC and with related projects and initiatives on AW
- Perform continuous project monitoring and stimulate effective collaborations, efficient coordination and communication between WPs, and between the consortium and external parties.
- Ensure that all project outcomes are of high quality, meet their objectives on-time and with foreseen resources
- Ensure a multi-actor approach with adequate involvement of relevant partners / stakeholders
- Identify and monitor risks and take appropriate mitigation actions.
- Set-up and monitor effective mechanisms for data management, ethical issues and gender equality