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Invited speakers

Animal and Human Health Engineering
KU Leuven, Belgium

E. Decuypere obtained his master in zoology in 1969, his master in agronomy in 1972 and his PhD in agricultural sciences in 1979. Meanwhile he was working from 1974–1977 in Rwanda as responsible for agricultural practice and applied research in a developmental project.

He did a post-doc (1979–1980) at Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA) and at Arizona State University (USA). From 1979 onwards he was a research fellow of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (NFWO), then research director at NFWO until 1988.

From 1988 onwards he was full senior professor and head of the laboratory of Physiology of Domestic Animals at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), and extra-ordinary professor at the University of Wageningen (Netherlands) and collaborator of the Wageningen Business School for post-university education., as well as guest professor at the Sao Paulo University (Brazil) from 1996–2004.

His main teaching duties are “physiology of farm animals”, “production and reproduction physiology”, “general animal husbandry”, “poultry production” and “biotechnology in farm animals”.

During his career he published more than 850 papers in international peer reviewed journals and many book chapters and review papers.

He supervised 45 PhD-students and headed about 35 scientific projects (both national and international), mainly in the field of fundamental and applied poultry research. The main research themes were incubation and embryo development in the chicken, endocrinology and energy metabolism in broilers, broiler breeder reproduction. Each of these themes linked fundamental as well as applied research topics, e.g. fundamental studies on epigenetics in the chick embryo as well as angiogenesis in the embryo as a model in relation to cancer research was linked, or emanated in research topics about better incubation conditions or tools for detecting fertility and predicting hatchability.

Fundamental studies on endocrinology of growth and reproduction and control of feed intake and energy metabolism were matched with studies on ascites in broilers, dwarfism in broiler breeders, improvement of lighting schedules, moulting in laying hens, understanding broiler breeder reproduction and paradox.

He received several awards for his scientific work, amongst them the T. Newman memorial Award, The Gordon Memorial Award and lecture, Doctor Honoris Causa from the Veterinary University of Budapest, Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS fellow), the Belgian Francqui chair, the Farner medal for Avian Endocrinology...

He is also chairman of the Centre of Sciences and Ethics at the KU Leuven-university, vice chairman of the interfaculty centre for agricultural history and was former Vice-dean of the faculty of bio-engineering sciences.

Aviagen Group

Anne-Marie works as Group Senior Advisor Welfare, Sustainability and Compliance for Aviagen Group, a meat chicken and turkey primary breeder. Anne-Marie has a Masters degree from Wageningen University in the Netherlands with majors in animal genetics and animal behaviour. Before joining Aviagen, she has set up the European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders (cattle, pigs, poultry, aquaculture), a patent watch, a Code of Good Practice for Animal Breeding Organisations (Code-EFABAR), and an EU recognised technology platform on animal breeding (FABRE TP), and initiated the Animal Task Force (ATF). Anne-Marie organised the International Poultry Council (IPC) development of top 5 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the FAO-IPC Declaration of Sāo Paulo in 2019, and currently chairs the IPC Health and Welfare working group. She has coordinated various socio-economic EU projects. She is a board member of the International Poultry Welfare Alliance and a PAACO welfare auditor.

Department of Biosystems
KU Leuven, Belgium

Tomas Norton holds a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from University College Dublin, Ireland. He is a fellow of the Institute of Agricultural Engineers (FIAgrE), International Academy of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers (FiAABE) and Royal Society of Biology (FRSB). He is currently leading a research group in Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) at KU Leuven’s Division of Animal and Human and Health Engineering (research group of M3-BIORES), where they focus on modelling and monitoring of animal responses to different stressors. He is co-author of 90+ SCI publications and has given over 30 keynotes/invited presentations. He is co-coordinator of courses on Modelling Biosystems and Sustainable Precision Livestock Farming (PLF). Since 2018 he is Chair of Section 2 of International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR) and chair of the Technical Board. Since 2021 he is an Editor-in-Chief at Computers and Electronics in Agriculture (IF 6.7).

Hendrix Genetics
the Netherlands

Teun van de Braak (’87), Manager of Global Technical Service and Customer Support for BU Layers, is working for Hendrix Genetics since his graduation from Wageningen University and Research in 2010. He holds a master in animal breeding and genetics and minor in business management and marketing. Teun started as layer geneticists at the R&D department back in 2010. In his current role Teun, together with the team of Global Technical Experts, is supporting customers and egg producers all over the globe with their flock management and he is making the connection between the field and the R&D department.


Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Aarhus University, Denmark

Senior researcher Anja Brinch Riber (MSc, PhD)
Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Section of Behaviour, Stress and Welfare
Aarhus University

Anja Brinch Riber studied biology (1996–2002) at Aarhus University, Denmark, with a master’s degree project in behavioural ecology of hedgehogs. She has worked with poultry behaviour and welfare since she started her PhD position in ethology (2003–2007) at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, on the topic ontogeny of feather pecking in laying hens. Following a post doc position at University of Copenhagen (2007), she moved back to Aarhus University, first as a researcher (2007–2017) and later as a senior researcher (2017–). She has been a visiting researcher at Mpala Research Centre (Kenya), University of California (Davis, US), Lincoln University (UK) and National Chun-shin University (Taiwan). Currently, she is one of the four core members of the EU Reference Centre for Animal Welfare of poultry and other small farmed animals (2020–).

Part of her research is focused on abnormal and unwanted behaviour in poultry, e.g. injurious pecking, gregarious nesting and high levels of inactivity, and the associated welfare consequences. She investigates the underlying motivations and develops preventive methods, e.g. through changes in early rearing conditions, design of housing equipment and supply of environmental enrichment. The focus is also on welfare assessment, both in terms of surveys and in terms of development and validation of the indicators and methods used during assessments. She is particularly interested in developing alternatives to housing conditions and management practices causing welfare issues, e.g. alleviating hunger in broiler breeders by fibre-rich feeding strategies and improving early life by hatching on farm.

Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands

Dr. ir. Ingrid de Jong has a position as senior scientific researcher and project manager at the department of Animal Welfare and Animal Health from Wageningen Livestock Research, part of Wageningen University and Research. Her research focuses on welfare of poultry and pigs and covered a broad range of multidisciplinary projects with the main focus on animal welfare, but usually also with a link to other disciplines such as nutrition and sustainability. Current projects include the application of sensor technology to improve welfare in pigs and poultry and the relationship between gut microbiome composition and animal welfare. She has (co)-authored more than 70 scientific papers in the field of animal welfare.

University of Guelph, Canada

Ana Rentsch is an ethologist interested in behavioural development, individual variation of behaviour, and their link to animal welfare. She completed her MSc in the Centre for Proper Housing; Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ) at the University of Bern, Switzerland. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Guelph, Canada, where she is now a postdoctoral fellow under Dr Tina Widowski and Dr Alexandra Harlander.

Fisheries and Food (ILVO), Belgium

Frank Tuyttens studied biology at Edinburgh University, UK (1990–1994) where he was awarded the Ashworth Prize of Zoology. He obtained a PhD in Zoology at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of Oxford University, UK (1994–1999). He leads the Animal Welfare & Behaviour research group at the Flemish Research Institute of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO, Belgium) since 2001. His research group focuses mainly on assessing and monitoring farm animal welfare, and on investigating how the housing and management of cattle, pigs, poultry and rabbits can be improved to enhance their quality of life. Since 2012 he has also been appointed as part-time visiting professor at the Research Group Ethology and Animal Welfare (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium) for teaching and researching farm animal welfare & ethology. In 2017 he worked at the Laboratory for Animal Welfare of the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil). He has a strong academic track record (180+ SCI publications) and has supervised many PhD, Master and Bachelor students. He is member of the steering group of the Flemish Council for Animal Welfare, member of the ILVO Ethics committee for experiments on animals, and editor for Animal.

University of Guelph, Canada

Tina M. Widowski, PhD is Professor of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. She has spent over 30 years investigating how housing, transport and management practices for pigs and poultry affect their behaviour and welfare.

Widowski served as Director of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at Guelph from 2009–2020. Since 2011 Widowski has held the Egg Farmers of Canada Research Chair in Poultry Welfare. Her research group focuses mainly on housing and management factors that affect the behaviour, health and welfare of growing pullets and laying hens. She has supervised over 60 Masters and 10 PhD students and published over 180 scientific papers.

Widowski has served on a number of scientific advisory committees including the National Farm Animal Care Council (Canada) Scientific Committees for Pigs, for Turkeys, Broilers and Breeders and for Laying Hens. As Chair of the Scientific Committee for the for Laying Hens, she was a also member of the Layer Code Development Committee and the Animal Care Program Team. She also serves on the United Egg Producers Scientists Committee on Animal Welfare in the USA.

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