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  • Sustainable livestock production - Prof. Andrea Vitali - a.a. 2017/2018

    Born: May 19, 1974, Frosinone, Italy. Ph.D 2006, Faculty of Agronomy, Catholic University, Piacenza, Italy. Environmental and nutritional animal physiopathology in livestock systems. Dissertation: Aflatoxin B1 toxicity in goats. Experimental in vivo, in vitro and ex vivo toxicity testing.
    Since march 2017 is researcher in the scientific-disciplinary field AGR/19-Animal Husbandry at the Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Teramo. Teaching activity at University of Teramo in the master course Food Science and Technology (Sustainable Livestock Production). Before this, he worked from to 2007 until February 2017 at DAFNE (University of Tuscia) as assistant researcher in the research group of animal science and he was involved in several research projects. In the last 2 years he was task leader in the International project Knowledge Hub JPI FACCE. A detailed climate change risk assessment for European agriculture and food security. His research activities was mainly focused on the relationships between climate, animal welfare and products quality in dairy cows. In addition, he studied the environmental sustainability of livestock systems and assessed environmental impacts associated to livestock species. Since 2016 he is involved as expert for the livestock sector in developing the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (PNACC; Italian Ministry for the Environment Land and Sea).



    • Knowledge and understanding: The course in Sustainable Animal Production aims to improve the understanding of students with the livestock production systems and knowledge will be gained on environmental issues associated to these practices. Solutions that might improve sustainability of primary products of animal origin from farm to fork will be discussed. Students will improve understanding in the assessment of environmental impacts and ecological certifications of food of animal origin.
    • Applying knowledge and understanding: It aims to provide technical knowledge in livestock farming, products quality and environmental issues. Technical skills will be gained in the sustainable management of livestock practices that include: feeding, genetic selection, reproduction, health and care, housing, manure handling, water and soil management. Additional knowledge of environmental sustainability through food supply chain, including those related to consumers food habits, will be gained. The course will provide technical skills in assessing and managing environmental information.

      In particular, students will be able to:
      • Understanding the meaning of livestock productions in the contest of global food demand
      • understanding farm practices and their impacts on quantity and quality of food of animal origin including aspects related to nutritional and functional properties
      • knowledge of environmental impacts and natural resources depletions associated to animal productions
      • understanding the strategies to mitigate environmental performance of primary animal productions and attaining an overview of food sustainability from farm to fork
      • meaning of win-win and trade-off concepts in mitigation strategies
      • knowledge in assessing environmental impacts of animal productions through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
      • knowledge of the main environmental indicators (carbon and water footprint) and environmental labelling of food of animal origin
      • learn about the regulations concerning livestock production and sustainability
    • Making judgements: It aims to provide competences to evaluate livestock production systems, the quality of products, the environmental impacts associated at these practices and mitigating solutions. In addition, they will gain skills in evaluating environmental impacts, certifications and ecological labelling.
    • Communication: Students should be able to:
      demonstrate a working knowledge of important soft skills capacity, such as assertive communication, time planning and management, team-building, group discussion and priority evaluation
    • Learning skills: Under the supervision of the teacher, through the holding of the issues of livestock production, students will gain knowledge and communication skills to analyse and solve specific professional issues.
      The course involves a series of activities aimed to upgrade learning skills and develop an effective learning method, such as: guided tours in food companies, videos, case studies, work project.
      Teaching activities include discussion forums, seminars (Power Point presentation) and video on livestock issues (biodiversity, animal welfare, sustainability, food quality, food behaviour, impact assessment).

    • Prerequisite: Knowledge of livestock productions
    • Preparatory: None


    UNIT 1: Overview of livestock productions.

    • Knowledge and understanding: The main aspects of livestock production systems (intensive, extensive and organic) will be analysed: species, breed and genotype, products (milk, meat, eggs, fish, honey, insects as food and other animal edible products), genetic selection, feeding, reproduction, housing, animal welfare and health status, production efficiency.

    UNIT 2: Quality of livestock products.
    • Knowledge and understanding: In this unit will be discussed the quality of animal products. It will be evaluated chemical composition and hygiene of animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, insects as food and other edible animal products). Discussion will be focused also on nutritional and nutraceutical properties of animal products. It will be analysed the factors affecting quality of primary livestock products: species, breed, genotype, nutrition, farm management, health status, climate conditions. The risk of zoonosis caused by pathogens originating from products of animal origin will be treated. The risk of chemical contaminations in livestock products will be evaluated: drugs, mycotoxin, heavy metals and other contaminants.

    UNIT 3: Environmental implications of livestock systems.
    • Knowledge and understanding: This unit will provide an overview of the pollutants released in environment (air, soil and water) and the natural resources depletion associated to livestock production systems. The contribution of livestock production to different environmental impacts will be analysed. Discussion will focus principally on Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) and their contribute to Climate Change. In addition, water and soil use, acidification and eutrophication potential, drugs use and their relation to public health will be considered in the discussion. The unit will evaluate the pollution occurred during others stage of food supply chain (processing, retails and consumption) in order to provide students of an overview of sustainability related to food of animal origin from farm to fork.

    UNIT 4: Sustainability of animal productions.
    • Knowledge and understanding: Students will be introduced to the significance of livestock productions in global food demand (feed the earth). It will be provided the basic concepts of environment, biodiversity, and sustainability. The unit will analyse the practices that might contribute to improve environmental sustainability in livestock production systems. It will be evaluated mitigation practices for animal farming (genetic selection, nutrition, health, manure and water management). It will be discussed solutions to improve sustainability through the food supply chain including consumer behaviours.

    UNIT 5: Environmental assessment.
    • Knowledge and understanding: Students will be introduced to the environmental evaluation of products of animal origin. The main aspects of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis will be examined: scopes, system boundaries, functional unit, Life Cycle Inventory (LCI), Life Cycle Inventory Assessment (LCAI), allocation procedures and results interpretation. Students will gain skills on the concepts and procedures to calculate carbon and water footprint related to livestock food products. Students will be introduced to environmental certifications and ecological labelling of food of animal origin.





    • Reference unit: Unit 1 and 2
    • Date: at the end of reference unit
    • Type of test:

    One write exam with multiple choice questions at the end of unit 2 (30%), work project report is scheduled as oral presentation at the end of course (20%) and final oral exam (50%).

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