Animal products constitute an important source of good quality, digestible proteins, minerals and vitamins in human consumption patterns and are part of a healthy and balanced diet. Due to the increasing demand at global level for animal derived food and the mounting pressure over land use, further intensification and expansion of animal production is expected. Development of the livestock sector at EU and global levels is challenging as it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, can put pressure on the environment and natural resources, may increase the risks to the health and welfare of animals within the systems and to human health. At the same time, livestock farming systems generate valuable products for human consumption including some from resources that cannot otherwise be converted into food (e.g. grass-based systems). They support the development of rural communities, but livestock farmers often thrive to reach economic sustainability. Extensive livestock systems can contribute to the management and maintenance of ecosystems and may increase biodiversity. Climate change is an additional pressure to the sustainability (e.g. productivity, health) of livestock systems. Means to improve sustainability of terrestrial livestock production and consumption systems need to be sought. Farming systems and the agri-food chain need to be (re)designed in a holistic manner to best reconcile the various demands concerning productivity, sustainability, quality and other societal values, for now and the future.
Proposals shall address only one of the following sub-topics:
A. (2020) Husbandry for sustainability (RIA)
Proposals should undertake a comprehensive assessment of the sustainability and potential delivery of ecosystem services, social services, resilience, competitiveness and possible trade-offs of diverse EU livestock production systems, covering all the EU’s major types of production systems and most important species.
The assessment should be holistic, encompassing the main facets of the concerned systems, and their role in a circular economy. These facets will notably include: environmental impacts (incl. impact of feed production, climate change, (indirect) land use); economics and supply chain dynamics (incl. international trade, demand, market power and farm income); territorial dynamics (incl. socio-geographic and demographic changes of the concerned farming community, areas with little alternatives to livestock production); animal welfare; as well as food and nutrition security (extended to the place of animal products in the society and diets in the future).
Activities will build on existing Life Cycle Assessment data and perform new measurements where necessary. Work on emission factors should be included and the development of new comprehensive models should be supported.
The assessment should form the basis for a coordination of further action in response to the major challenges of the respective production and consumption systems, in the domains of research, innovation, policy-making and business development. A wide range of alternative development scenarios will be used to identify the most appropriate coping strategies and future development scenarios within planetary and nutritional boundaries and may propose policy options. The analyses will include (indirect) effects on related production systems.
Proposals should fall under the concept of 'multi-actor approach', representing a broad and diverse range of public and private interests and actors. This will provide insights on how sustainable livestock management can be translated into practice and propose holistic solutions and policies to tackle the multiple societal requirements related to livestock production.
B. (2020) Husbandry for quality (RIA)
Proposals should undertake an assessment of the intrinsic quality of livestock products stemming from different production systems. They should study the relation between intrinsic quality and husbandry (e.g. breeding, feeding, management), taking into account the processing methods and means to ensure authenticity along the food chain. Where considered appropriate, proposals will dedicate resources to the assessment of claims on the relation between intrinsic quality of products and extrinsic factors (e.g. sustainable production systems, traditional production systems). Proposals may work on one or more species but shall, within the same species, assess at least differences between extensive and intensive production systems. Proposals should fall under the concept of 'multi-actor approach', representing in particular farmers, the food industry and consumers.
The intrinsic qualities covered will at least encompass: (i) food safety (ii) nutritional value, (iii) organoleptic quality and sensorial features of animal products.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 9 million for scope A and EUR 6 million for Scope B would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Proposals should contribute in achieving the following impacts:
- Incorporation of societal demands in livestock production
- Increasing the added value of livestock products, via higher quality and/or more sustainable production processes
- (Scope A) Development of pathways for action in research, innovation, policy and business development, in support of a sustainable development of the EU livestock sector
- (Scope B) Understanding of the relation between intrinsic quality and husbandry
 Livestock production systems for human food.
 See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.
Illustration Photo: Charolais cattle in France (credits: muffinn / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))