Improving animal welfare

EU animal welfare legislation has evolved on the basis of scientific knowledge, improving the quality of animals' lives taking into account citizens' expectations and market demands. Nevertheless, a number of problems remain unsolved and the sector faces challenges to cope with them. Research is needed to further improve the management of animal welfare, by looking into new opportunities offered by technological developments, development of appropriate business models and linking animal welfare with other production parameters, including animal health and environmental performance.


A. [2018] Organic and low-input farming (RIA)

The special needs for animal welfare in organic and low-input production systems should be explored. Proposals will investigate how to meet organic production standards and take into account ethical and positive welfare approaches, with a focus at least on alternatives to mutilation. Such comprehensive approach should at least address issues related to mutilations, solutions for the killing of male day-old chicks and supply of robust slow-growing poultry breeds/products fit for outdoor rearing

B. [2019] Precision livestock farming (IA)

Proposals should address various stages of the terrestrial livestock production system (e.g. breeding, rearing, fattening, transport and slaughter). Proposals should build on state of the art animal welfare approaches to develop innovative technologies, while also considering the needs to reduce emissions of air pollutants from agriculture. Work on indicators should be pursued, especially on those with potential for inclusion in efficient and impactful animal welfare management models. Innovative business models should be developed in order to make it easier for consumers to identify and choose enhanced welfare-friendly products. Projects may cover development of early warning systems; increased monitoring of behaviour, stress or other animal-based welfare indicators and effects on production efficiency; development of related intervention mechanisms.

Proposals for both sub-topics A and B should fall under the concept of the multi-actor approach, ensuring that all the stakeholders, from farmers to consumers and regulators, will contribute to the building of new animal welfare approaches to further add value to EU foods of animal origin.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 10 million (sub-topic A) and EUR 6 million (sub-topic B) would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

Provide the knowledge base for further improvements in animal welfare management and policy making. More specifically, activities will contribute to:

  • a better understanding of animal welfare and associated animal behaviour;
  • a broader range of animal welfare management strategies and tools;
  • solving long-standing welfare related issues in organic farming, notably in poultry (sub-topic A);
  • developing innovative approaches to measuring animal welfare at various stages of the production system (sub-topic B);
  • increase the range of animal welfare management strategies and tools.

In the long run, projects shall increase the sustainability of the livestock sector by better responding to consumer demands and/or increasing competitiveness of the sector.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • RRI
Application date
Social sciences : Environmental Sciences