In the Network Focus on Animal Welfare, specialized knowledge is bundled nationwide for the first time. Exchange of experience between practitioners, scientists, consultants, and other groups is organized, and networking promoted. The aim of the project is to support farms regarding animal welfare, environmentally responsible, sustainable, and future-oriented livestock farming.
To provide the exchange of experience, bundling of knowledge as well as transparency is promoted nationwide. New research and practical perceptions such as Model and Demonstration Projects (MuD) are part of the network.
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) (announcement: Federal Gazette of May 15, 2019), the project duration is until April 30th , 2023.
EQAsce: Animal welfare is a very topical field of activity. How is “Focus on Animal Welfare” positioned here?
NFAW: The Network Focus on Animal Welfare meets the challenges of legal requirements and the wishes of society by gathering, bundling, and processing existing knowledge on the subject of animal welfare and getting it to practitioners. For the first time, knowledge is being compiled and coordinated on a nationwide basis. In various events, knowledge from animal-specific consulting, research and practice is made available both to those working in agriculture and the public.
EQAsce: Why is cross-border cooperation between the chambers of agriculture or state offices in German-speaking countries particularly important and what does this cooperation look like?
NFAW: Cross-border cooperation in the field of experimentation, both in plant and horticulture as well as in animal husbandry, is of high importance and has been carried out in close cooperation for decades. The experimental facilities of the federal states collect coordinated data on a scientific basis and evaluate them statistically. These results allow to draw conclusions on the extent to which husbandry or feeding measures have an impact on animal welfare. Nationwide, there exist many projects and studies on the topic of animal welfare. For example, animal welfare concepts are being developed jointly by experts from the German states for the various production sectors in the three animal species of cattle, pigs and poultry and published as “Overall Farm Management Concepts”.
In the Network Focus on Animal Welfare, knowledge beyond national borders is collected, bundled, and prepared in a way that is suitable for the target group. This way, networks are established that consist of different views and experiences. Animal husbandry is structurally different in the federal states. Thus, the exchange is especially important to find common solutions that also take regional differences into account to jointly implement new findings.
EQAsce: In the coming years, farmers – especially those who do livestock farming – will have to meet additional requirements from the authorities and standard setters in the industry: they will have to provide up-to-date proof of their expertise, competence and acquired knowledge again and again – in relation to quite different tasks in production management. What possibilities do you see for cooperation with EQAsce when it comes to digitalizing the qualification of animal keepers, their lecturers, and examiners, as well as the collection of verification documents, and introducing the BasicCard+ developed by EQAsce?
NFAW: The possibility of having proof of expertise or certificates recognized nationwide sounds promising. Information on new legal requirements and the digital storage and retrieval of certificates do sound like an advantage as well. Considering the data protection and regional differences of the federal states, the standardization and digital storage of certificates could be an asset in agriculture.