Impact Of Animal Nutrition On Animal Welfare – Experts .

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1FAO ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND HEALTHreportIMPACT OF ANIMAL NUTRITIONON ANIMAL WELFAREExpert Consultation26–30 September 2011FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

Cover photographs:Left image: @A. BachCentre image: @FAO/K. PrattRight image: @FAO/J. Holmes


Recommended CitationFAO. 2012. Impact of animal nutrition on animal welfare – Expert Consultation 26 30 September 2011 – FAOHeadquarters, Rome, Italy. Animal Production and Health Report. No. 1. Rome.The designations employed and the presentation of material in thisinformation product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoeveron the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, cityor area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers orboundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers,whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these havebeen endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similarnature that are not mentioned.The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) anddo not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.E-ISBN 978-92-5-107437-4 (PDF)All rights reserved. FAO encourages reproduction and dissemination ofmaterial in this information product. Non-commercial uses will be authorizedfree of charge, upon request. Reproduction for resale or other commercialpurposes, including educational purposes, may incur fees. Applications forpermission to reproduce or disseminate FAO copyright materials, and allqueries concerning rights and licences, should be addressed by e-mail or to the Chief, Publishing Policy and Support Branch,Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension, FAO,Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy. FAO 2012

Table of contentsAcknowledgementsvExecutive SummaryviIntroductionEvolutionary history of farmed ruminant speciesEvolutionary history of farmed monogastric speciesDefining animal welfareTasks for the expert meeting11124Nutrition and welfare under differentlivestock production systemsExtensive production systems: ruminantsExtensive production systems: monogastricsMixed crop-livestock production systems: ruminantsMixed crop-livestock production systems: monogastricsIntensive production systems: ruminantsIntensive production systems: monogastricsConcluding remarks – Feeding options fordifferent production systems that improve animalwelfare and profitability55799101416Opportunities and challenges to enhanceanimal welfare through animal feeding approaches in ruminantsAssessing welfareNutrient balanceUndesirable behaviorInfectious afflictionsToxicity issuesFacilitiesParasite controlSalinityMorbidity and mortality in young stockChallenges and future research2121212222222323242424Opportunities and challenges to enhance animal welfarethrough animal feeding approaches in monogastricsUnderstanding and dealing with chronic hungerMatching diets to nutritional needsDeveloping more sustainable nutritional strategiesImplementing knowledge and socio-economically applicable solutions2727282829iii

Guidelines and policy options promoting sustainable animalfeeding that enhance animal welfare, animal productivity,animal product quality and profitabilityAssessing and assuring welfareUnderstanding and dealing with chronic orsevere hunger or thirstImplementing knowledge and socio-economically applicable solutionsReferences3131323435Agenda of the Meeting and participantsiv4

AcknowledgementsThe Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) would like toexpress its appreciation to all the experts and resource persons who participated inthe meeting and gave their invaluable inputs. Special thanks are due to Dr. Alex Bachand Prof. Sandra Edwards for their contributions towards preparing this report.Dr. Philippe Ankers is also thanked for his suggestions to improve this report. Themeeting was planned and organized by Harinder P.S. Makkar and Daniela Battaglia.The preparation of this report was coordinated, managed and supervised by HarinderP.S. Makkar.v

Executive SummaryAn expert meeting was held to review the impact of animal nutrition on animalwelfare. During the meeting, three major tasks were undertaken for both ruminantand monogastric species:1) Identify feeding options for different livestock production systems (extensive,mixed crop-livestock, and intensive) that improve animal welfare while increasing profitability of the livestock producers and ensuring safety and qualitythrough the food chain.2) Identify challenges and opportunities to enhance animal welfare through animalfeeding approaches.3) Draft guidelines and policy options promoting sustainable animal feeding that enhance animal welfare, animal productivity, animal product quality and profitability.Animal welfare includes the combination of both physical and mental well-being. A properly balanced diet and water supplied in adequate amounts will avoidphysical and psychological suffering from hunger and thirst; furthermore correctnutrition is crucial for optimal performance and to sustain optimal fitness.In Extensive production systems, the major challenge is the supply of adequatenutrients year-round despite climatic variation. In Mixed-crop production systemsthe challenge is to better integrate the nutrient management of crop and animalproduction enterprises within the system, to be relatively self-sufficient and reducedependence on external inputs. In Intensive production systems, the highly specialized genotypes and diet formulation approaches, and the large scale of operation,mean that the nutritional welfare of the animals is best safeguarded when expertnutritionists are involved in diet formulation. Feeding to sustain high productionlevels can lead to metabolic disorders in ruminants, whilst breeding animals ofmonogastric species which are restrict-fed to optimise health and production maysuffer from chronic hunger.A number of Opportunities and challenges to enhance animal welfare throughanimal feeding approaches were identified. In ruminant species, welfare assessmentcould be improved by development of better integrated and more robust welfaremeasures. Preventing undesirable competitive behavior requires appropriate groupcomposition and facility design. Maintaining appropriate nutrient balance involvesavoiding excessive mobilization of body reserves for high production, preventingrumen acidosis by appropriate diet formulation, and providing mineral as well asprotein supplements to remedy imbalances in extensive conditions. Correct nutrition can reduce infectious afflictions by enhancing cell-tissue integrity and optimisingdefence mechanisms of the immune system. Toxicity issues associated with ingestedherbage can be reduced by better management of grazing lands, training animalsto avoid poisonous plants and use of medicines in supplements to counteract theirnegative effects. Parasite control can utilize plants containing antiparasitic agents andbe aided by appropriate host nutrition, particularly adequate metabolisable proteinnutrition, and regular use of anti-parasitic drugs. To reduce morbidity and mortality in young stock, adequate provision of colostrum at birth and adequate supplyof milk replacer until weaning age is essential to ensure proper immune

In monogastric species, the greatest challenge involves understanding and dealing with chronic hunger, which can arise from the absence of sufficient feed in subsistence systems, the deliberate restriction of feed for breeding animals in intensivesystems, and the possibility of nutrient specific hungers arising from imbalancesbetween the diet supplied and the metabolic needs of the animal. There is also scopefor better matching of diets to nutritional needs through improved knowledge ofthe nutrient requirements of animals in different situations, and particularly of localbreeds of livestock used in more extensive systems. In improved breeds, there arenutritional opportunities to mitigate the effects of problems associated with genetically induced fast growth and the partitioning of nutrients to production functions.The development of more sustainable nutritional strategies requires considerationof the use of nutritional approaches to address other societal goals including thesupply of food which is both safe and nutritious to humans whilst generating lowenvironmental impact from production systems. Furthermore, there is a challengein implementing knowledge and socio-economically applicable solutions in the fieldby promoting effective dissemination and motivating uptake of good practice.In terms of policy, it is important to emphasize that welfare recommendationsneed to go hand-in-hand with profitability. Some proposed practices aimed at improving welfare might reduce levels of profitability. On the other hand, some interventions will increase the profitability, and these should be given priority.In addressing the opportunities and challenges to promote welfare of animalsthrough better nutrition, there is a need for integrated activity from governments,inter-government organizations, professional bodies, scientists, extension workersand industries to support the implementation of good practice by the farmers themselves. In many cases, although not all, nutritional approaches which improve animal welfare will also improve productivity, product quality and hence profitability.Most importantly, there should be a concerted effort of scientists, politicians, farmers and food-chain industry to develop and validate indicators, in order to allow aninternational endorsement of specific acceptable minimum welfare standards related to nutrition. Social knowledge about responsible farming practices that consider longevity, long-term performance, and overall life-cycle should be improved.Showing and promoting the positive relationship between animal welfare and production with respect to good nutritional programmes should be fostered throughfarm programmes and extension services.vii

IntroductionIn assessing the impact of nutrition on animal welfare, there are clearly differentconsiderations for the various farmed livestock species because of their differencesin evolutionary history and ecological niche, and hence feeding behavior and digestive processes.Evolutionary history of farmed ruminant speciesCattle and sheep were first domesticated approximately 9 000 years ago and wereunique amongst domesticated livestock in their ability to produce both milk andmeat for human consumption, as well as being used for work in some instances.The ruminant digestive system includes a large first chamber, the rumen, for theprocessing of coarse fiber and other feeds by the resident microorganisms. This digestive modification enables cattle and sheep to survive on low quality fodder, butgenerates substantial heat and renders the animals more susceptible to excess heatthan cold. Their use for sustained milk production required a regular and plentifulsupply of nutrients, hence dairying developed mainly in regions able to producegood quality feed. However, beef cattle, and dual-purpose cattle and sheep are keptin some of the world’s less hospitable regions to produce meat and milk, includingdrought-prone regions and areas with extreme high and low temperatures. Evenin regions better endowed climatically, there are usually times of the year whenpasture production can be limited or, in some instances, non-existent due to inadequacy of soil moisture, soil temperature or sunlight. In all such regions, animals willexperience a reduction in plane of nutrition that may range from slight to severe.Droughts, floods and extreme temperatures regularly challenge meat-producingand dual-purpose livestock, but they often survive due to their ability to metabolizetheir body fat to sustain them through these difficult periods. Through domestication, humans have augmented this survival capacity by breeding ruminants withconcentrated fat depots, e.g. the fat tail of sheep and the hump in Bos indicus cattle.Despite its ubiquity as a food for man, milk is produced under many differentfarming systems throughout the world. Many smallholder herds have fewer than 5cows (or buffalos), each producing low to modest amounts of milk, yet collectivelythey account for a significant proportion of the world’s milk supply. In countriesthat consistently grow high yields of forage suitable for grazing, seasonal milk production is commonplace, with cows utilizing extensive amounts of pasture and producing average milk yields, and some herds milking over 500 cows. Other systemsare more suited to all-year round milk production, with cows housed and fed conserved forages either as silage or hay. Herd sizes as well as average milk yields vary,with some farms achieving annual milk yields above 10 000 liters.Evolutionary history of farmed monogastric speciesMonogastric animals, pigs and poultry, have also had a close association with humans for centuries. As scavenging omnivorous animals, they provided humans withgreat flexibility in circumstances in which they could be kept. Whilst they couldpotentially compete with humans for the same feedstuffs, their early role was to1

Impact of animal nutrition on animal welfareutilize natural feeds and human farm and kitchen wastes, and to turn these intonutritious animal protein.Domestication of the pig is thought to have occurred in Neolithic times by capture and taming of wild pigs scavenging on crops. In contrast to ruminants, they hadtwo major advantages as meat producing animals. One was their prolificacy, producing several offspring at each breeding and with the potential to breed more than oncein a year. The other was their ability to utilise diverse food sources to deposit largestores of body fat in seasons when food was plentiful. To achieve this, they couldeither be herded as groups to use natural resources such as mast, berries and roots,allowed to scavenge around human habitation, or be kept as household animals toutilize kitchen wastes. Intensification of production in developed countries was initially often linked to locations where by-product feeds were produced, such as dairyor brewing wastes. However, in the last centuries, growing demand for animal protein has led to development of larger and more specialized farms where animals arefattened more efficiently on cereal based diets. Because of their adaptability, farmedpigs are found in almost all regions of the world, although consumption of their meatis restricted in some regions by taboos for those of the Moslem and Jewish religions.Over the world as a whole, almost 1000 million pigs are kept, with two-thirds indeveloped countries and one-third in developing countries. They constitute the mostimportant source of meat, providing about 40% of total world meat consumption.There are a variety of different farmed poultry species, including geese, ducksand turkeys, but it is the chicken which predominates. The ancestor of the modernchicken was the jungle fowl and the keeping of poultry also goes far back in time,with records of domestic fowl in early Egyptian, Roman and Chinese societies. Asa low value, low maintenance species, they were able to subsist in conditions offood scarcity where larger mammalian species could not, scavenging on food scraps,seeds and invertebrates. They could also provide both eggs and meat for humanconsumption. Initially chickens were dual purpose, with the male birds and olderfemale birds at end of lay being used for meat. It is only in relatively recent timesin developed countries that specialization into laying and meat strains by selectivebreeding has been exploited. Highly selected laying hens can now maintain peakegg output above 90% per day for up to 40 weeks, whilst meat chickens can growto final weight in 5–6 weeks and convert cereal diets to meat with an efficiency ofless than 2:1. Chickens therefore have the greatest efficiency of all farmed species inconverting cereals into animal protein and are the ideal animal to exploit resourcesin regions where climate and soil are suitable for growing crops surplus to humanneeds. Thus, between 1970 and 2005 global egg production tripled to almost 60 000tonnes whilst approximately 50 000 million meat chickens are produced annually.Whilst poultry are found worldwide, the principal regions for large scale production have changed from Europe and North America to Asia.Defining animal welfareAnimal welfare has been defined in several different ways, but most of them consider animal welfare as a combination of both physical and mental well-being. Therefore, in order to achieve optimal welfare, physical and mental discomfort and suffering must be prevented. A properly balanced diet and water supplied in adequateamounts would avoid physical and psychological suffering from hunger and thirst;furthermore correct nutrition is crucial for optimal performance and also to sustain2

Impact of animal nutrition on animal welfareoptimal fitness (i.e. welfare). Undue restrictions of feed and water are recognized asimportant adverse influences on animal welfare (Ewing et al., 1999). Malnutritionarises when an animal is given access to a food that is not adequately balanced tomeet its physiological needs such that it impairs normal functionality. Nutritionalwellbeing and behavior are interrelated in ways that are not obvious when scientists or managers focus strictly on nutrition or behavior. Feeding behavior can bedescribed simply as the link between feed and feed intake. It constitutes a numberof aspects, including finding the feed, choosing the feed, gaining and maintainingaccess to the feed, as well as the amount of feed eaten in any one meal and the rateof ingestion (feeding rate). Measures of feeding behavior can be used as a tool withwhich to gauge how an animal perceives the diet offered. However, animals in afarm environment often feed in a social group, which involves competition betweengroup members for access to the feed. Feed intake may also depend on the presentation of the feed, the previous experience of the animal with a given feed, and to whatextent other, competing motivations affect the behavior of the animal. Differencesbetween animals may therefore indicate stressors associated with feeding (Nielsen,1999a, b, 2004), and changes within an animal over time may reflect alterationsin health status. Nutrition is not only the availability of the correct quantity offeed (“gut filling”). Malnutrition from imbalanced feed can result in a number ofconditions including ill health, nausea, depression and negative affective states, allof which can cause pain and suffering and hence lower welfare. Interestingly, thereverse is also true: a status of illness, particularly in case of depression and anorexicconditions, means a lower dry matter intake, often associated with reduced feed digestibility, with some risks for future health (extended period of time under energydeficiency, protein, mineral and vitamin depletion). This implies that not only lackof feed or water, and not only nutrient deficiency, but all the causes of tissue damage and/or disease (i.e. feed quality, nutrient excesses causing obesity or digestivedisorders), can result in pain and suffering leading to compromised welfare.Monogastric animals face different welfare challenges in comparison with ruminants. As scavengers rather than grazers, they have a very highly developed exploratory motivation and have evolved a finely tuned ability to balance the nutrients intheir diet through selection amongst different available feedstuffs (Rose and Kyriazakis, 1991; Kyriazakis

An expert meeting was held to review the impact of animal nutrition on animal welfare. During the meeting, three major tasks were undertaken for both ruminant and monogastric species: 1) Identify feeding options for different livestock production systems (extensive, mixed crop-livestock, and intensive) that improve animal welfare while increas - ing profitability of the livestock producers and .

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