FAWT is happy to collaborate with organisations and groups that share its aims and charity-based operating style. It works in close association with the Food Animal Initiative (FAI) an organisation committed to research and development activities designed to underpin progressive livestock farming methods that are sensitive to the needs of animals. FAI works with a group of highly respected farmers, teachers and academics, and has excellent research facilities on its 420 hectare commercial farm just north of Oxford.
1. Broiler genetics project (funded by The Tubney Charitable Trust)
This major project is developing a breed of broiler chicken fully suited to free range and organic production environments, as a commercial alternative to chicken produced under the modern intensive and welfare-challenging housed systems.
2. Calf project (funded by the Joanne Bower legacy)
This was part of a wider project, carried out in conjunction with CIWF, McDonalds and Tesco, with the aim of improving the welfare of calves from the British dairy herd by facilitating their use for the production of British beef, rather than exporting them – which is known to bring a series of welfare challenges. The objective was to review and evaluate the currently available methods for assessing the immune status of calves in the face of a number of potentially serious neo-natal infections, thereby yielding information that significantly affects their commercial value to calf rearers.
3. Education Initiative (additional funding currently being sought)
We live in a society where consumers are distanced from the farming processes that produce their food, and the average town dweller has few intuitions about the rural environment. This project aims to use the FAI farm as an educational resource to enable schoolchildren (particularly) and any other interested groups to learn about farming and the issues surrounding animal welfare, environmental conservation and rural life. It will provide for visits, information packs, project opportunities and hands-on experience of farm animals.
4. Poultry slaughter project
The concept underlying this work was to remove the pain and discomfort to birds at slaughter. Using equipment donated by the former Silsoe Research Institute, a moving conveyor has been employed to support the birds and reduce the stress on their legs during the period when attached to the shackle line prior to stunning. The study was undertaken with the help of Defra funding and in association with Silsoe Livestock Systems Ltd, FAI, Oxford University and the Humane Slaughter Association. A number of valuable scientific measurements were made and following the pilot studies commercial equipment was developed and installed at an abattoir in Cheshire.