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Behaviour, stress and welfare

What we do

Our research aims to understand behavioural needs and affective states of the animals that surrounds us; amongst others as a key component for assessing animal welfare and mental state. The species in focus are animals kept by humans for farming, as companion and leisure, as laboratory animals and for nature conservation/rewilding.

We develop novel techniques to assess behavioural needs and affective states including stress and pain in animals. These include- but are not limited to - digitalized methods for automated and longitudinal monitoring of animal behaviour and other signals that can be used for digitalization of welfare assessment and farm management.  

We research how the physical and social environment as well as feeding, management and genetic influence animal welfare on farms, during transport and at slaughter.

We contribute to the Green Transition by developing holistic sustainable concepts for animal keeping, transportation and end of life inspired by the global OneWelfare concept, recognizing the interconnections between animal welfare and health, human health and well-being and the environment.

Our primary focus areas

  • Develop sustainable animal production systems based on “One welfare”
    • Understand the behavioural needs of animals and take them into account in system development
    • Balance concerns for animal welfare against initiatives to reduce environmental impact in conventional and organic systems
    • Reduction of use of antimicrobial through improved welfare
  • Develop and validate indicators for welfare assessment in production and rewilding
    • Animal-, resource- and management-based welfare indicators throughout the animal’s life
    • Positive and negative animal welfare indicators
  • Understand how affective states and emotions are influenced by
    • early life experiences
    • housing and management
    • human-animal interactions
    • transportation and procedures at slaughter and killing
    • feeding and gut-brain axis
    • genetic
  • Animal learning and cognition including animal training
  • Understand and mitigate abnormal behaviour in farm and companion animals
  • Digitalisation and monitoring in livestock for assessing animal welfare and health
    • Use of computer vision and sensors to monitor animal behaviour and other signals 
    • Data modelling for early warning of welfare threats
    • Experimental validation of digital techniques for measuring animal welfare and affective states

Head of research unit

Lene Juul Pedersen

Professor - Section manager Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences - ANIVET Behaviour, stress and welfare (BSW)