About this Research Topic
World livestock production is done mainly in intensive systems, but in some regions, extensive systems are particularly important. For intensive livestock sectors, such as pig, poultry and dairy, a significant effort has been made to improve the level of animal welfare through methodological and technological improvements and innovations. However, in the extensive systems, which are generally practiced worldwide, the welfare of animals has received less attention. Moreover, many welfare indicators proposed for intensive production are inappropriate or impossible to apply in the heterogeneous environments of the extensive systems.
It is recognized that animals in extensive livestock systems also face significant welfare challenges, despite the positive image that is usually transmitted, as they are generally outside in more natural conditions. The main welfare challenges are related to long periods of either food or water scarcity, difficulties in controlling diseases and monitoring sick or debilitated animals, high predation, little parturition and new-born assistance, and heat or cold stress, among others. Some of these challenges may worsen in the near future because of climate change.
In this Research Topic, we wish to focus on the problems related to the welfare assessment of farm animals in extensive systems and ways to mitigate the impact by introducing new practices or by applying novel technologies. Thus, we welcome potential authors to submit original research articles or state-of-the-art reviews on the topic of the welfare of farm animals in extensive systems. Areas of interest are, for instance, the investigation of valid welfare indicators to be used in extensive systems, or the use of technological innovations to monitor animals in extensive systems.
Keywords: animal welfare, extensive systems, technology, welfare indicators, livestock
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