Scientific context and issues
Sustainable development is now a societal priority. The livestock sector, which is globally expanding, is particularly concerned by this issue. Livestock production chains need to remain economically viable, while meeting environmental challenges related to land use, pollution, reduction of natural resources, loss of biodiversity and competition with food while respecting societal demand for healthy foods whose production preserves the animal welfare.
In this context the SYSED team develop research program for the design of more sustainable farming systems for two different species: rabbits and waterfowl for foie gras (duck and goose). Our objective is to contribute to the emergence of practices and systems that combine economic, social and environmental performance.
From a societal perspective, the challenge involves the consideration of environmental issues (pollution, greenhouse gas emissions effects, non-renewable resource consumption), animal welfare (force-feeding for waterfowls; indoor housing for rabbits) or antibiotics use (rabbits). From a scientific point of view, the challenge is to produce and integrate knowledge into applications (from gene to livestock system).
We develop work on the multi-criteria assessment of livestock systems: life cycle analysis and sustainability assessment. These multi-criteria evaluations help us to make a diagnosis, identify the most relevant drivers for the design of innovative systems and quantify progresses.
We also develop work to design innovative livestock systems. For the foie gras sector, we are looking for alternatives to force-feeding. We focus particularly on factors of variation and possible levers to stimulate the induction of spontaneous hepatic steatosis in waterfowl. We also seek to reduce the environmental impact of conventional foie gras production (using force-feeding) using innovative feeding strategies.
For the rabbit sector we develop research on integrated health management, both in conventional farming systems (indoor) and organic systems (grazing). For this thematic, agroecology represents a new conceptual framework that structure our approaches.