General Information

Established in 1975 and led by Prof. Nicole Kemper from the 1st August 2013, the Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Farm Animal Behaviour carries out research in many fields across animal hygiene, welfare and ethology.


The institute is currently engaged with researching, describing and combining animals’ interactions with their environment and it is hoped that this knowledge might be used to create new ways to achieve better animal health and welfare whilst also improving performance. Key knowledge areas include the biological, physical, chemical principles and the living conditions of livestock.


According to the definition of the International Society for Animal Hygiene (ISAH), the main objective of the scientific field of Animal Hygiene is to increase the health and welfare status of the animals by implementing optimised management conditions. It is particularly important to reduce the proliferation of pathogens within farm animal husbandry, especially those which are zoonotic and related to food hygiene. To achieve this objective, it is essential to have detailed knowledge about the interaction of animals and their environment, and the proliferation of potentially pathogenic germs. Modern research of animal hygiene combines the classical analysis of hygienic practices in animal husbandry with modern molecular biological methods.


The main aim of  Animal Welfare is to advance the scientific, ethical and legally motivated welfare methods in order to optimise farm-animal husbandry systems.


The Farm Animal Behaviour section of the institute deals with the basic knowledge for the calm and humane handling of livestock. The evaluation of welfare in the different husbandry systems is based on the analysis of animal behaviour within their environment (for more details, see the International Society for Applied Ethology, (ISAE)). The scientific field of farm animal behaviour focuses on the effects of different husbandry systems on the behaviour of the animals. This combination of research provides a base for the optimisation of husbandry systems of farm animals in order to promote better welfare. The objective of the institute is to develop and prove animal husbandry systems with a high level of animal welfare and then apply them to commercial farming practices.


The combined research of animal husbandry, hygiene, and behaviour is used to develop concepts for the prevention of hazards to animals, humans, and the environment as a result of animal husbandry. This should lead to more sustainable livestock farming methods.


Students are examined on subjects to do with animal husbandry and hygiene, environmental hygiene and ethology. Material is provided on these in lectures. Additional lectures are provided for Veterinärreferendare für den Staatsdienst, veterinary assistance, poultry farming and animal care attendance. Every autumn the institute organises and conducts a two day course, in collaboration with the “Akademie für tierärztliche Fortbildung” (ATF)”) which looks at the present problems concerning animal welfare.


The institute is an approved Weiterbildungsstätte for Fachtierärzte for animal hygiene, microbiology and animal welfare.