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This content is taken from the EIT Food, Queen's University Belfast, University of Turin & European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)'s online course, Farm to Fork: Sustainable Food Production in a Changing Environment. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds Welcome to week two of the course. This week, we will focus on the importance of animal health and welfare. Throughout this week, you will gain an increased awareness about the production of food from animals that are reared inside farms, the importance of respecting animal health and welfare, and ensuring farm practices do not threaten the environment. In particular, we will use a case study approach to explore feeding and its fundamental importance in farm management, the use of antibiotics in animal production, zoonosis associated with fish, as well as welfare and ethics in the seafood supply chain. Throughout this week, you will also achieve a greater understanding of the role of the breeder and biosecurity measures in the protection of animals.

Animal Health and Welfare


Welcome to week 2. The aim of this week is to learn about herd management, focusing on technological innovation, protection of animal welfare and environmental sustainability.

Throughout the week you will gain an increased awareness about the production of food from animals that are reared inside farms; guaranteeing respect for the ethology, welfare and health of animals; and protection of the environment.

Animal welfare is defined by the 5 freedoms:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst

  2. Freedom from discomfort

  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease

  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour

  5. Freedom from fear and distress.

The well-being of the animal is important both for economic and environmental/health reasons. In fact, poor animal welfare results in a loss of productivity and an increased need to use antibiotics and other treatments.

Another important tool to improve the animals’ performance and health and allow the reductions of antibiotics, is the use of feed additives. Feed additives may act in different ways. For instance, some of them provide specific nutrients (e.g. vitamins), others enhance digestibility, or they can reduce the population of pathogenic mircoorganisms. They are carefully regulated by the European Union.

Moreover, you will learn how global distribution and the increased complexity of food chains have changed the occurrence of specific pathogens and how this is controlled from farm to fork by a plethora of workers with different skills.

During the week you will discuss the use of drugs in animal production and achieve a greater understanding about how the breeder is the first to be involved in the protection of animals, but above all the first to benefit from it.

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This video is from the free online course:

Farm to Fork: Sustainable Food Production in a Changing Environment

EIT Food

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