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Project to study how human behavior affects cattle well-being

TAGS: Beef Dairy News
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Project involves gathering information from around world on farming practices and routine pain management interventions.

Boehringer Ingelheim, together with global innovation consultancy Innovia Technology, announced Feb. 17 that it has initiated an innovative project with the aim of acquiring a deeper understanding of the human behaviors that affect cattle well-being.

Boehringer Ingelheim noted that for more than 12 years, it has been promoting farm animal well-being, mainly through organizing the annual "Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being," which brings together more than 100 industry experts to discuss the latest trends, challenges and opportunities in the industry while also striving to raise the focus on cattle pain and well-being.

The new project involves gathering information from veterinarians and farmers from around the world on farming practices and routine pain management interventions, the company said. To be able to improve animal well-being, the needs of the animal first need to be understood as well as how those needs are affected by human behavior. However, in order to effect change, the behavior of people needs to be examined and understood, Boehringer Ingelheim said.

Behavioral science — the understanding of how and why people behave in certain ways — could be helpful. The theories that underpin behavioral science can help in many stages along this journey. In the context of farm animal well-being, it can help get to the root causes of what people do and why they do it, the company said.

“With the involvement of Innovia’s expertise, we expect to better understand farmers’ behavior and motivations and analyze how their choices can affect cattle well-being. This should enable us to design interventions that target the reasons behind these behaviors and are acceptable and feasible to stakeholders,” explained Laurent Goby, senior global marketing manager at Boehringer Ingelheim’s ruminant business who is heading up the project.

“This ambitious and innovative project aims to deliver a set of possible interventions for veterinarians and farmers, starting with one specific area of cattle well-being. We expect that the work along the way will reveal many interesting and important aspects of pain management in cattle, which may serve as a basis for practical interventions to ultimately improve cattle well-being,” he added.

More information about the project is available at www.farmanimalwellbeing.com.

The project is part of a global engagement initiative called Cattle First, which is how Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health works with cattle farmers and cattle veterinarians. Through specific projects and case studies, this initiative aims to showcase the company’s values, passion and understanding held in common with customers as well as long-term commitment to supporting those customers, the company said.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health said it knows that understanding and changing the behavior of people is a relatively untapped area that offers big potential for improving farm animal well-being. The company has partnered with Innovia Technology, a Cambridge, U.K.-based innovation consultancy, to obtain a deeper understanding of the human behaviors that affect farm animal well-being.

The ultimate goal of this partnership is to develop a set of behavior-based interventions that may improve cattle well-being, Boehringer Ingelheim said, adding that the project has a novel and ambitious scope and the potential to make a significant impact on animal well-being.

Boehringer Ingelheim is the second-largest animal health business in the world, with net sales of almost 4 billion euros in 2018 and a presence in more than 150 markets.

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