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Mixed husbandry of pigs and chickens to improve animal welfare - development of risk minimization strategies based on risk analysis

Pigs and chickens are kept alternately on common pastures, whereby the animals should benefit from the presence of the other species (symbiotic grazing). This form of keeping, which has become unusual nowadays, meets the animal welfare criteria of both animal species. The farmer, but also the veterinary authorities, which are responsible for the consumer's protection at all stages of the food chain - from primary production to placing the product on the market - is faced with challenges that should not be underestimated. In particular, the entry of pathogens and/or parasites can play an important role. Animal diseases are of particular importance, as they can be transmitted between different animal species if they are kept together - and in the case of zoonotic pathogens also to humans. Therefore, a scientific study should create the basis for the identification, analysis and assessment of risks. The examinations are carried out on the basis of officially prescribed methods in order to comply with legal regulations; in addition, modern state-of-the-art methods are used to identify epidemiological relationships (e.g. DNA fingerprints, sequencing).The results of this independent scientific study can be used both as a catalogue of measures and as a decision-making aid for the responsible authorities. Based on the created risk assessment, conditions can be created under which the safe monitoring and control of hazards in terms of risk management is ensured. This can e.g. be done by setting up barrier systems to avoid sources of infection and to interrupt infection cycles, but also by correctly and early detection of pathogens as well as the adaptation of the hygiene concept (pest control, cleaning and disinfection, etc.). Finally, a (possibly more detailed meat inspection), might be adapted to the new keeping system, having a special focus on the recognition and diagnosis of relevant biological hazards. In this way, a system can be established that meets the highest standards in terms of food quality and animal welfare, giving top priority to protecting people from the health risks posed by food of animal origin.
Symbiotische Weidehaltung
Project leader
Schwaiger Karin
Type of Research
Applied research
Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Veterinary Public Health, Unit of Food Hygiene and Technology
Funded by
Schweisfurth Stiftung, M√ľnchen, Germany
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