WG2 – Effects of KBD on Welfare and Productivity

Leader (A Brinch-Riber, Denmark, anja.riber@anis.au.dk)

Replacement leader (F Tuyttens, Belgium, frank.tuyttens@ilvo.vlaanderen.be)


The focus of WG2 will serve to bridge multiple efforts seeking to identify criteria for objectively evaluating the severity of KBD and at what threshold concern is warranted. Specifically, the WG will consider efforts that seek to determine and quantify the effects of KBD on particular measures of welfare (e.g., sensation of pain, altered mobility) and productivity (e.g. egg production and quality) at the initial time of fracture until the completion of the healing process Objective 2 will serve to clarify the type of damage that should merit the concern of the research community and stakeholders. For instance, small fractures are often seen at the most distal point of the keel and are unlikely to be associated with pain, though without relevant criteria, these decisions are prone to subjective interpretation. WG2 will also seek to establish visible characteristics associated with the relevant types of damage to allow classification of severity during general assessments, e.g., farm audits.

In addition to assessing effects on direct measures of welfare, WG2 will also seek to establish effects on productivity. Decreased productivity can be considered one way to determine if an animals` welfare is compromised as it suggests that the relevant coping mechanisms are overwhelmed causing derailment of processes that support long term fitness. Secondly, quantifying economic costs can provide incentive for interventions to reduce KBD, particularly relevant in regions of the world where animal welfare is considered less of a priority giving additional financial justification for intervention and related products.