CARAIBE objectives are:
- To characterize the psychobiological responses of animals to challenges (social, nutritional, or physical challenges, and stressful or painful situations),
- To identify the behavioural needs and behavioural mechanisms underlying adaptation to challenges (learning and developmental processes, identification of sensitive periods, epigenetic, genotype-environment interactions…),
- To contribute to integrative management of animal welfare and health by: the identification of early signs of health disorders through behavioural changes, allowing rapid treatment; the design of environmental conditions that stimulate animal robustness (social environment, enrichment, absence of stress); taking benefit of animal behaviour to fight against health disorders.
The ultimate goal is to propose practices that promote animal robustness, welfare and health, while ensuring technical performances and products quality.
Team CARAIBE focuses on the understanding of psychological needs, perceptions (emotion and cognition), and behavioural responses of animals to their environment. It notably pays attention to constrained environments related to grass-based systems valuing grazing (climatic, feeding, social, predation constraints, etc.). The research is based on analyses of: animal behaviour (spontaneous behaviour or in reactivity and learning tests), stress responses (activity of the HPA axis and of the autonomic nervous system, post-mortem muscle metabolism, etc.) indicators of inflammation or pain. These psychobiological responses are related to animal performance and to products quality. Thanks to collaborations, CARAIBE plans to use microbiological and immunological indices, genomics in relation to animal's stress, genetic to understand individual variability. Recent technologies designed for precision farming, e.g. automatic positioning of animals, allow monitoring animal responses for long periods. Such monitoring associated to modelling will take a significant place in CARAIBE research in order to better understand changes over time in animal behaviour or stress responses. Collaborations with social scientists help design innovative practices for an integrative management of animal welfare and health.
Contact: Romain Lardy