Everyone who drinks milk and eats meat wants reassurance that farm animals are housed according to their needs. At Agroscope, housing systems for ruminants and pigs are tested in terms of animal welfare.
The proper housing of farm livestock is an issue that the Swiss population has taken to heart. It is also a major advertisement for Swiss agriculture. But how can consumers be sure that the housing systems actually meet the animals' needs? In order to guarantee that they do so, the Swiss Animal Welfare Act provides for a testing and authorisation procedure for mass-produced housing systems and equipment for farm animals. The Centre for Proper Housing of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, whose premises are at Agroscope, is in charge of testing housing systems for ruminants and pigs. The welfare of the animals in the systems extolled by the housing-construction companies is assessed according to behavioural and veterinary-medicine indicators. In addition to this, research projects contribute to the development of animal-friendly housing systems and new methods for evaluating animal welfare. The authorisation procedure is therefore an important instrument for quality assurance in animal husbandry – to the benefit of the animals, of agriculture and of the housing-construction firms.