Precision livestock farming technologies for welfare management in intensive livestock systems

Rev Sci Tech. 2014 Apr;33(1):189-96. doi: 10.20506/rst.33.1.2273.


The worldwide demand for meat and animal products is expected to increase by at least 40% in the next 15 years. The first question is how to achieve high-quality, sustainable and safe meat production that can meet this demand. At the same time, livestock production is currently facing serious problems. Concerns about animal health in relation to food safety and human health are increasing. The European Union wants improved animal welfare and has made a significant investment in it. At the same time, the environmental impact of the livestock sector is a major issue. Finally, it is necessary to ask how the farmer, who is the central figure in this process, will make a living from more sustainable livestock production systems. One tool that might provide real opportunities is precision livestock farming (PLF). In contrast to previous approaches, PLF systems aim to offer a real-time monitoring and management system that focuses on improving the life of the animals by warning when problems arise so that the farmer may take immediate action. Continuous, fully automatic monitoring and improvement of animal health and welfare, product yields and environmental impacts should become possible. This paper presents examples of systems that have already been developed in order to demonstrate the potential benefits of this technology.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animal Welfare / standards*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Housing, Animal / standards*
  • Livestock*
  • Models, Biological
  • Video Recording