Ghent University (Ugent)

Belgium – ugent.be

Contact: Prof. Jeroen Dewulf & Arthi Amalraj

Animal disease control; Biosecurity; Data analysis; Preventive Veterinary medicine

For the NetPoulSafe project,  new versions of the Biocheck.Ugent tool, with adapted questions, will be developed by UGENT that are applicable to five different poultry production systems like breeders, turkeys, ducks, free-range broiler, and free-range layers. Data on biosecurity applications based upon the existing Biocheck.Ugent database for broilers and layers will be used for the historical data analysis. Besides this Ugent will contribute to the multicountry data collection exercises.

NETPOULSAFE makes biosecurity based knowledge accessible to European Poultry farmers, guiding them towards an improved poultry production and as a consequence reduce the risk of disease occurrence and need for antimicrobials.

The Veterinary Epidemiology unit of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Ghent University is a leading research unit in the world with regard to biosecurity in animal production and veterinary medicine. The unit has developed the Biocheck.Ugent scoring system (https://biocheck.ugent.be/en) for measuring biosecurity compliance and improving disease prevention in animal production (cattle, pigs and poultry layers and broilers). The tool enables farmers towards an improved production and a consequential reduced risk of infection and need for antimicrobials. The research group has successfully demonstrated that reduction of antimicrobial use in intensive animal production is feasible and may even be profitable.

UGent has already partnered with several H2020 projects and its strong connections with poultry veterinarians, advisory services, sector organizations and governments supports networking for project implementation.

 To develop new risk based scoring tools for five different poultry production systems, a panel of poultry experts from the seven partner countries were recruited. Meetings were organized via TEAMS to discuss the biosecurity practices relevant to each poultry species. Experts will also be consulted during the attribution of weights to the questions in the sub-categories. Each poultry species specific tool will be pre-tested in test farms before application in the field. The final risk based tool will be used to evaluate biosecurity compliance and  efficiency of supporting measures implemented in poultry farms. The Biocheck surveys will be translated into relevant languages of the participating countries. UGent will also be actively involved in data collection of biosecurity measures and supporting measures from poultry field, literature and legislation.