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Sheep Welfare in the Food Chain

Awarded: NOK 9.3 mill.

Project Number:


Project Period:

2006 - 2012

Funding received from:


Sheep production is of major importance and with future potential for Norwegian livestock industry as well as rural societies, landscape and culture. Sheep production represent on of the more extensive production forms and has been less subject to industr ialisation of the livestock production. However, sheep production is not unaffected. The risk for sub-optimal health handling and negative welfare situations increases with little room for input resources per animal. The meat industry state that they nee d more insight into animal needs and behaviour, and what can be done for improving their conditions along the food chain. The project therefore set out to gaing insight into this area by focsing on both the animal (the biological pillar) and the actors (t he sociological pillar). By taking an population or epidemiological based approach critical points can be pointed out for further and in more depth research through physiological studies etc. Scientific based methods for assessing and monitoring animal welfare in sheep are urgently needed to bring transparency and understanding between consumers and producers. The industry also state that they need to document animal health, welfare and the use of medical treatments. Animal welfare in sheep production b oth at the national and at the international level has only marginally been studied. This KMB project combines biological and social scientific methods to approach these issues, and in paralell studies following the animals and the actors along the food chain and will gain an uniqua insight into the different interrelationships present. The project will give the public food administration as well as the private industry a scientific basis for risk analyses, for improving monitoring programmes and for ini tiatives and communication with consumers and trade. The project also will give a contribution to the ethical dimension of production and formation of values.

Funding scheme: