AI4Animals has been saved
Improving animal welfare through AI technology
A unique group of organisations supported by Deloitte co-created an innovative camera surveillance system called AI4A (Artificial Intelligence for Animals) to better monitor how animals are handled in slaughterhouses. The key objective is to better identify, address and avoid welfare and animal handling issues. AI4A was kickstarted and supported by the Deloitte Impact Foundation and Deloitte Innovation.
Using artificial intelligence for animal welfare
Over the last years, most major slaughterhouses in The Netherlands have implemented camera monitoring systems. Every day, this results in hundreds of hours of video footage. Although current camera systems can help identify animal handling issues, there are significant limitations. In practice, slaughterhouses review a random selection of the many hours of video footage generated every day. As a result, most video footage remains unseen.
To address this shortcoming a unique group of organisations consisting of animal welfare organisations De Dierenberscherming and Eyes On Animals, meat producer Vion and Deloitte teamed up to jointly develop an innovative camera surveillance system. The objective is to make video monitoring in slaughterhouses significantly more effective. The newly developed video software uses artificial intelligence to monitor how animals are being handled. It detects movement of persons, animals and objects and how they interact. Video recording that potentially contain animal handling issues are automatically selected by the AI4A algorithm and presented through a dashboard to be reviewed and if required escalated. This enables slaughterhouse employees to assess the video images and take corrective actions.
AI4A detects a wide range of potential welfare issues, including:
- Human movement - People walking directly against the direction of the pigs can cause stress
- Animal staying behind – AI4A detects one or more animals staying behind for some time, while others continue. This might indicate lameness, exhaustion and injuries
- Mobile stunner usage – AI4A monitors the use of the mobile stunner and whether it has been applied according to protocol
- Bottlenecks - This occurs when a large group of animals are stuck in the runway, causing stress
- Signs of life and consciousness - AI4A detects signs of life or consciousness when the animals should not be alive
We are continuously co-developing new features with the users of AI4A and our partners.
AI4A has various benefits compared to traditional camera surveillance:
- Welfare - AI4A offers the possibility to significantly better monitor animal handling through the use of AI, computer vision and statistics
- Insights - More accurate and quantifiable insights into the type, severity and frequency of welfare deviations. AI4A gives the ability to compare and benchmark slaughterhouses
- Continuous improves surveillance - Unlike humans, the algorithm does not desensitize. On the contrary, it continuously improves as it learns from new recordings
- Saves time - Automatically selecting potential welfare issues significantly reduces the time required to review the video images
- Value chain – AI4A offers to possibility to link the state of the animals at arrival to earlier parts in the process, e.g. transportation
- Scalable – AI4A is cloud native, which allows it to be scaled to multiple locations and processes
In close collaboration with Eyes On Animals, de Dierenbescherming and Vion, Deloitte developed an AI-based camera surveillance system that monitors how animals are handled in slaughterhouses. Nowadays most video footage, and therefore potential welfare issues, remains unseen. Video recordings that potentially contain handling and welfare issues are automatically presented in a dashboard. The animation above explains how AI4A works. Here you can read more about this collaboration.
For more information on smart animal welfare or how we can help your organisation, please contact us via the contact details below. If you want to stay informed, and get invited to our webinars and round tables, sign up for our Future of Food community.
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