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Ökologischer Betrieb
© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics



PILLOW, chickens and pigs
PILLOW, chickens and pigs

Poultry and PIg Low-input and Organic production systems’ Welfare

Organic and outdoor low-input pig and poultry farming systems have spread considerably in the EU during the last decade due to ethical and socio-economic considerations. Nevertheless, there are still several challenging questions unsolved concerning such systems, especially in relation to animal health and mortality problems.
Consumers and practitioners of these production systems particularly disapprove of damage to animal integrity (i.e. beak trimming, piglet castration) and of the killing of one-day old male layer chicks. These practices question the ethics and the sustainability of these types of productions. Besides, European citizens expect guarantees about improved animal welfare, safety and quality of poultry and pork meats as well as eggs in these systems. There is therefore a need to improve pig and poultry welfare and adaptive capacities in organic and low-input outdoor systems.

Background and Objective

PPILOW aims to co-create innovations to improve the welfare for poultry and pigs reared in organic and low-input outdoor farming systems. The project is based on a multi-actor participatory approach and works with 23 partners in 9 EU-countries.
The first original characteristic of the PPILOW project is the participatory approach, involving all actors of the production chain from farmers to consumers for proposing, studying and implementing practical solutions for welfare improvement. The second original characteristic of the project is to provide a combination of practical solutions for welfare improvement that can be applied on a pan European basis with specific adjustments depending on the target market (national legislation and consumer preferences).
The third original characteristic of the PPILOW project is the multi-criteria assessment of welfare improving practices in order to have an exhaustive view of the global impacts of these practices beyond gains for animal and human welfare.

Target Group

Producers/farmers, upstream and downstream trades, hatcheries, breeding companies, consumers, politicians, scientists.


Innovative animal welfare strategies for extensive and ecological production systems for poultry and pigs are developed and tested together with actors from agriculture and society and their economic viability is reviewed. In the first step an inventory of animal welfare strategies in 9 different participating European countries will be done. National practitioner groups (NPGs) will be build in each studied country for the integration of practitioner´s view on different levels. After the common agreement on different input and output parameters, economic and business models will be developed to outline the effects on the value chain. The PPILOW project pursues a multi-actor approach involving several actors in the production chain and important European interest groups. Further tasks are the investigation of existing animal welfare measures in Germany.

Data and Methods

Simulations and modelling will be carried out for this purpose. In addition, a business model will be developed describing the impact on the value chain.
Multi-criteria analysis will be used to assess the sustainability of different strategies to improve well-being in line with the One Welfare Concept, according to the vision of the farmers, consumers and scientists involved in the study.
For the most promising solutions identified with the multi-criteria decision analysis, business and economic models will be developed to determine the economics and feasibility of the proposed strategies and their impact on the entire production chain of each production species (broilers, eggs, pigs).

Our Research Questions

Which innovative measures are sensible and economically viable in ecological and extensive livestock farming for poultry and pigs in order to improve animal welfare and ensure sustainable and profitable production?

Links and Downloads


9.2019 - 8.2024

More Information

Funding program: EU – Horizon 2020 – Societal Challenge "Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials"
Project status: ongoing

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