Д-р МАДЛЕН ВАСИЛЕВА: Информация: Кокошките носачки събраха науката и практиката в търсене на иновации за благосъстоянието на животните
LAYING HENS FLOCKED TOGETHER SCIENCE AND PRACTICE IN SEARCH OF INNOVATION FOR ANIMAL WELFARE - Hennovation Project
Commercial animal husbandry has undergone many changes recently in response to animal welfare and sustainability concerns. These changes often require producers and industry to modify existing practices, thereby creating opportunities for experimentation and innovation. With the growing recognition that the traditional model of knowledge transfer from scientific research to industry practice has not always been effective in addressing hoped-for changes in animal welfare and environmental sustainability, a growing emphasis is now being placed on more cooperative forms of knowledge generation and experimental innovation. Using the laying hen sector as a case study, the Hennovation Project aimed to explore and test novel mechanisms for addressing and overcoming the ‘research/practice’ divide in the delivery of sustainable animal welfare practice in two specific areas of current farm animal welfare concern: feather pecking amongst laying hens and end-of-lay transport.
The project specific objectives were:
To develop on-farm and off-farm (transport and slaughter) practice-driven innovation networks dealing with sustainability challenges in the laying hen sector with the support of science and market driven actors who have strong relationships with the industry.
To develop and disseminate technical innovations to increase sustainability of the laying hen sector that are based on practice as well as on economic and scientific information.
To develop and disseminate a “communication support package” including web based tools, facilitation guides and on-line training programmes that will help ensure that science and market- driven actors are able to support practice-driven innovation networks in the laying hen and other livestock sectors.
To develop policy recommendations that help realize the full potential of practice-driven innovation through multi stakeholder networks in livestock sectors.
The research project promoted practice-driven innovation through the establishment and encouragement of innovation networks of both producers and the hen processing industry that proactively search for, share and use new ideas to improve hen welfare, efficiency and sustainability within laying hen systems. 19 networks were mobilized at different levels of the production chain, local, national and European level. These networks are supported by science driven-actors, such as veterinary surgeons, farm advisors and scientific researchers alongside market-driven actors, such as those who buy eggs or certify egg production. Critically, the need for innovative responses amongst producers and industry drove the innovation process.
PROJECT RESULTS - Final report
The Hennovation ptoject aimed to explore the potential value of multi-actor practice-led innovation networks within the laying hen industry in 5 countries. During the 32-month project the team facilitated 19 networks including farmers, processors, veterinarians, technical advisors, market representatives and researchers. The networks worked collaboratively to find solutions for important husbandry challenges. The project encouraged a move away from the traditional model of science providing solutions for practice towards a more partnership approach where expertise from science and practice were valued more equally. Facilitators supported the networks through 6 critical steps: problem identification, generation of ideas, planning, small scale trials, implementation and sharing with others. In addition to helping source relevant technical information, the project also provided some financial support for prototype and testing costs.
The project has demonstrated that this practice-led approach can be a major stimulus for innovation with several networks generating novel ideas and testing them in their commercial context. The complexity and the novelty of the innovations is significant, especially considering concurrent outbreaks of Avian Influenza and relatively limited timescale. The farmers and processors involved in the project were often very enthusiastic committing significant time to the group’s activities. Working with social scientists during the project, we have concluded that successful multi-actor, practice-led innovation networks depend upon the following key factors: active participation from relevant actors, professional facilitation, moderate resource support and access to relevant expertise.
Given the enthusiasm and engagement shown from innovation network participants, the project team and advisory board recommend that the agricultural research community and funding agencies should place greater value on Hennovation style practice-led innovation networks alongside technology and advisor focused initiatives. We, therefore, encourage government, industry and other organisations to work collaboratively to realise the potential of this approach, particularly focussing on the critical role of the professional facilitator.
Laying-hen research priorities
An exercise was carried out to identify the research priorities of farmers and industry in the laying hen sector. An initial list of research topics was generated by the innovation network facilitators and animal welfare scientists working with the innovation networks. The topics on this initial list were grouped into different categories and shared with the members of the Project Advisory Board which included industry, retailer, farm-assurance and producers organisations. They commented on the list and added topics they perceived as a priority in the sector.
The final list was shared for scoring (see deliverable D5.4) and a variety of people scored the topics:
12 network facilitators, welfare scientists and project advisory board members (some members of the Advisory Board were advised by others in their organisation).
10 project stakeholders from Spain including farmers and advisors. (consulted during the Spanish national level knowledge exchange)
In the area ‘Injurious pecking’ topics related to ‘Poultry Red Mites’ were clearly given the highest priority (the 10% highest scored topics are mainly in this category). This illustrated the severity of this problem for the sector and the perceived relevance for the occurrence of feather pecking. There was an urgent need for applied research regarding control and management methods. Other prioritised topics included management/advice after first signs of feather pecking, effects of light qualities (colour, intensity, day light, schedule) and the best use of networks in the interaction between facilitators/researchers and stakeholders.
In the area ‘Welfare of End-of-Lay hens’ the two groups agreed on the need for training, prioritising knowledge transfer through best practices guidelines. Whilst the Hennovation project group gave high priority to optimal ways of catching birds in non-cage systems, the stakeholders group gave high priority to the role and functioning of networks.
Based on this study of the priorities related to Injurious Pecking and the Welfare of End-of-Lay hens the following topics were given highest priority and provide recommendations for further research and technical inputs.
Recommendations related to Injurious Pecking:
Management and control of Poultry Red Mites.
Development of practical lists to advice farmers how to prevent further development of feather pecking after first signs of the problem occur.
Effects of qualities of light (colour, intensity, day light, schedule).
Recommendations related to the Welfare of End-of-Lay hens:
Knowledge transfer on best practices and guidelines.
Optimal ways of catching birds in non-cage systems.
The final project report is available here http://hennovation.eu/results/final%20report.html
Other scientific opinions and up-to-date information on animal health and welfare, antimicrobial resistance, as well as risk assessment throughout the food chain can be found on the website of the Center for Risk Assessment of the Food Chain:
Information: "Awaiting the end of a cruel practice - when will stop the mass killing of unwanted cockerels from the poultry industry (Part I and Part II)?"
What to do with brothers of laying hens?
Used literature and more details:
When research meets farming to lift welfare; News Jan 26, 2018; Poultry World - Health; Tony McDougal - Freelance Journalist;
Hennovation project - http://www.hennovation.eu/
Practice-led innovation supported by science and market-driven actors in the laying hen and other livestock sectors - HORIZON 2020 ISIB-02-2014 project, Grant no. 652638;
Here are the links where you can find the outputs:
Hennovation extension guidelines & E-learning tool available through the FAWEC web site: www.fawec.org/en/
EIP-AGRI website for Practice Abstracts and Technical notes on the ideas tested by the innovation networks: https://ec.europa.eu/eip/agriculture/en
Hennovation YouTube channel for all audio-visual materials produced:
Hennovation website: www.hennovation.eu