Integrating welfare with economy and environment in dairy husbandry based on design based welfare requirements

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Improving the welfare quality in livestock production regularly contradicts other requirements, for instance economical considerations or environmental issues. Dominant and standardized technology and practices cannot be easily adapted to improve in one respect without having undesired and negative consequences on others. Current systems have been stabilized in a specific historical context, that favoured optimizations on a specific set of values (like cost efficiency and productivity increases), while disregarding others. In that situation, animal husbandry cannot comply to a new and richer set of values and norms, without a redefinition of current standards and assumptions. In a recent project, we had the opportunity to redesign dairy husbandry in order to integrate animal welfare, environmental, societal and economical concerns. Animal welfare requirements were defined based on an extensive literature study and subsequent semantic modelling (Cowel). The ideal situation then was defined in a Brief of Requirements for the dairy cow, that is essentially design-based. We will show how a precise and quantitative definition of needs & requirements, and the subsequent definition of functions that need to be performed in order to meet these requirements, opens up the solution space to integrate requirements of the animal with environmental and economical requirements. This approach is based on structured design, a design method from engineering. We claim that this approach is an important prerequisite in synthesizing needs of different key-actors and stakeholders, instead of seeking compromises between animal welfare, environment and economy. Preliminary results will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventConference, Knowing Animals congress, Florence, Italy -
Duration: 5 Mar 20096 Mar 2009


ConferenceConference, Knowing Animals congress, Florence, Italy


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