HealthyLivestock aims to reduce the use of antimicrobials (AM) in the pork and broiler industry in China and Europe, and the resulting residues in meat and the environment, by improving animal health and welfare without compromising productivity. Phase 1, which combines the efforts of 5 Chinese and 8 European academic partners, will include new scientific approaches in 4 interrelated strategies to reduce AM requirements:

  1. Biosecurity: reducing the risk of pathogens on farms through zoned health and welfare plans, including animal-based indicators of success.
  2. Resilience: increasing the ability of animals to cope with endemic diseases through new housing systems that reduce stress and improve probiotic gut health.
  3. Early detection: application of precision husbandry techniques to facilitate early detection, diagnosis and intervention of health and welfare problems.
  4. Precision drugs: use of pharmacokinetics to target MA only to individuals or groups in need.

Phase 2 will validate technical innovations by establishing their societal acceptability and economic viability. It will also assess the relationships between health and welfare plans, the level of pathogens on the farm and AM residues in products and manure. In Phase 3, the project's industry partners are dedicating their network and expertise to knowledge exchange. The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe
leads the dissemination of scientific results through technical notes. China's only animal welfare standards organisation, ICCAW, and the leading European organisation, GLOBALG.A.P., will strengthen their quality assurance systems. Zoetis, the world's largest veterinary pharmaceutical company, will develop and distribute its consulting applications for pig and poultry worldwide. Finally, HealthyLivestock will support Chinese and European policy making through the CAAS and its links with the International Veterinary Collaboration for China, as well as through the forthcoming EU Animal Welfare Platform and the network of Welfare Reference Centres.

WP1 will quantify the main risk factors related to housing and management of diseases entering and spreading in broiler and pig farms, and define biomarkers (animal-based indicators) that can be used to monitor the results of risk mitigation through biosecurity and biocontainment measures. Systematic review of risk identification and selection of biomarkers to monitor risks will lead to models, providing a blueprint from which tailor-made health and welfare plans (including biosecurity protocols) will be developed on commercial farms. Finally, the effect of the tailor-made plans on the defined indicators and their effectiveness in promoting health and well-being in field experiments will be tested for 12 months, using more than 100 broiler and pig farms in China, Greece, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Italy and France. This WP will consist of three tasks:

  • Task T1.1 : Housing and management risks to the health of broilers and pigs
  • Task T1.2 : Health plans to reduce the risk of disease in animal-friendly pig and broiler farms
  • Task T1.3 : Pilot testing and evaluation of health plans

HealthyLivestock is a project H2020.

Contact:Christine Fourichon

Modification date: 11 September 2023 | Publication date: 30 March 2020 | By: AC