The 73rd Annual Meeting of European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Porto offered new information from different fields of animal science through many parallel sessions, poster presentations and discussions. The program included topics from nutrition, genetics, physiology, health and welfare and farming systems of various animal species, making the event one of the largest animal science congresses in the world. Dr. Hannele Kettunen from Hankkija had two oral presentations in the congress covering recent Progres® trials in broilers, Asian seabass and white shrimp.  These presentations will be described in separate blogs. In the following text, a few selected pickings of the other congress topics are discussed.

Animal welfare

Several sessions of the congress were addressed to animal welfare from consumers, genetic, management and nutrition points of view. According to a recent survey by the National Animal Welfare Monitoring program of Germany, animal health and husbandry systems were the highest rated welfare parameters by the stakeholders. These were followed by animal welfare during transportation and slaughter, and medication use. A study of welfare labeling in the UK and Chile showed that a high proportion of consumers were willing to pay more for welfare labeled animal products, although only 30 % believed that the labelling really improves the life of animals. Their expectation for welfare labeled production focused on housing conditions, animal health, product quality and safety. Altogether this shows that animal welfare is highly valued by the consumers and that the industry still has a lot to do in improving animal welfare and its communication to customers.

Highly-prolific sows with dramatically increased litter sizes have forced farmers to change their management practices. According to an Irish survey, cross-fostering of piglets is typically done without ear-tagging and the piglets can be moved several times during the suckling period. This increases mortality and prevalence of ear and tail biting and reduces weaning weights. The negative impacts of artificial rearing on the health and performance of piglets was also clearly demonstrated in the survey. In general, reduced welfare of piglets is associated with increased use of antibiotics. Genetic increase of litter size beyond the capacity of sows to nurse their offspring may increase the total number of weaned piglets but it comes with huge negative effects on animal welfare. Is it worth it, and is this the image that we as an industry want to give to the consumers? It’s also good to notice that according to recent studies, improvement of sows’ and piglets’ welfare has a positive carry-over effect on the health and performance of finishing pigs.   

Metabolic inflammation in ruminants

Intensive feeding leading to rumen acidosis, microbial dysbiosis and leaky epithelium, dairy type breed and obesity were seen as drivers for metabolic inflammation in ruminants in an interesting presentation by Dr. Kenez. His working hypothesis of metabolic inflammation was based on a recent publication (Kenez et al. 2022) on ceramide metabolism and insulin sensitivity of cattle. Increase of cereal grains in the expense of forage was shown to increase n-6 to n-3 fatty acid ratio in the adipose tissues of calves. According to several presentations, supplementing the diet with n-3 (Omega-3) fatty acids for example by linseed oil affected insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation in cattle. Resin acids of Progres® have shown to reduce intestinal inflammation in broilers (Aquirre et al. 2019) and piglets (Uddin et al. 2021). It will be interesting to see the potential beneficial effects of resin acids on metabolic inflammation of cattle in the future studies.

Read also Dr. Hannele Kettunen’s blog about EAAP2022.


Aguirre M., Vuorenmaa J., Kettunen H., Valkonen E., Callens C., Haesebrouck F., Ducatelle R., Van Immerseel F. and Goosens E. (2019) In-feed resin acids reduce matrix metalloproteinase activity in the ileal mucosa of healthy broilers without inducing major effects on the gut microbiota. Veterinary Research 50:15.

Kenez A., Bässler S., Jorge-Smeding E. and Huber K. (2022). Ceramide metabolism associated with chronic dietary nutrient surplus and diminished insulin sensitivity in the liver, muscle, and adipose tissue of cattle. Frontiers in Physiology 13:958837.

Uddin M.K., Hasan S., Mahmud M.R., Peltoniemi O. and Oliviero C. (2021) In-feed supplementation of resin acid-enriched composition modulates gut microbiota, improves growth performance, and reduces post-weaning diarrhea and gut inflammation in piglets. Animals 11: 2511.