Data-driven identification of animal health and welfare conditions at abattoir to support producers in cost-effective farm management decisions.
Foto: Arianna Comin
To ensure meat quality and food safety, ante- and post-mortem inspection of each slaughtered animal is compulsory at the abattoir. As part of this process, the detection of illness or injuries at meat inspection – possibly outcomes of poor animal health and welfare at source farm – can lead to whole or partial carcass condemnation, which is a substantial source of direct and indirect economic losses to producers, processors and other industry stakeholders. Consequently, improved animal health and welfare in production systems has the potential to reduce inefficiencies in the beef and pork industry. This project aims at translating abattoir data into epidemiological information that will allow the identification of beef and pig farms with potential animal health and welfare issues, to estimate the costs of poor animal health and welfare at abattoir and thereby support farmers and producers in implementing cost-effective animal management strategies. The achievement of such goals will be pursued through four steps: (1) description, comparison and validation of abattoir data for pigs and cattle; (2) Assessment of abattoir data in identifying animal welfare problems at source farms; (3) Assessment and evaluation of abattoir data in identifying animal health issues at source farms; (4) Investigation of the most frequent abattoir findings leading to partial or entire carcass condemnation and their related economic losses in terms of direct and indirect costs.