A UK Next Stage Digital Economy Research Centre


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Responsible animal phenomics: Visions for linking digital sensing and genomic data in UK livestock breeding

Lead DIGIT Lab Academics: Professor Sarah Hartley & Hugh Williamson

We are looking at how digital sensing technologies are being implemented in animal breeding, and the societal and ethical implications of this digital transformation in agriculture.

Digital sensing technologies are increasingly used for farm animal management and veterinary purposes, offering new understanding of animals’ behaviour and health as well as ‘precision’ farming strategies. Linking the data collected by animal sensing technologies to genomic data has been identified as a key opportunity to develop data-driven strategies in farm animal breeding, and allow breeders to target novel health and behavioural traits of animals.

This project will investigate how these innovations in data use are changing animal breeding practice and organisation, and identify key goals for and challenges to responsible practice, for animal welfare and sustainable farming systems.

The research team will interview stakeholders including scientists, breeders, farmers, policymakers, veterinarians and animal welfare experts to identify their visions of digital transformation, the challenges they face in achieving this, and the key ethical implications of new technologies and breeding practices.

Supported by

  • EPSRC Digital Security & Resilience (DS&R) Theme