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European pig research project receives NI support
Published:  09 December, 2016

Northern Ireland is set to play a key role in the European Union funded project – EU PIG. 

Professionals at Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) will have an active role in the research project investigating pig welfare and production techniques.

The four-year, €2 million project will collect and examine information in the areas of health management, precision production, animal welfare and meat quality.

“AFBI’s involvement in this project demonstrates how important the research conducted in AFBI is at a wider European level,” said Dr Elizabeth Magowan, AFBI lead researcher.

“Our participation in this project will also bring state-of-the-art knowledge in all of these areas back to Northern Ireland pig producers. As such we are delighted to be part of the consortium.”

The EU initiative involves 19 organisations from 13 member states, together making up 92% of the EU’s pig meat production and 89% of the EU’s pig herd. The consortium is either made up from, or connected to, national and regional pig producer groups, researchers, rural development and innovation practitioners, including a selection of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Among the renowned Northern Irish pork processors are Cranswick – which recently acquired the Dunbia business at Ballymena – and Karro.

The EU concept is a new development, aimed at improving the relationship between producers and latest science innovations, husbandry techniques and technologies from the industry. This will be achieved by building connections with fellow producers, academics and advisors. The project is funded by the European Commission’s research and development programme, ‘Horizon 2020’.

Over the next four years, management tools will be created, with practical guidance available across the industry. The best practices and scientific knowledge will be highlighted and shared via a comprehensive website, explaining in detail the project objectives and how to get involved.