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Stefan Gunnarsson

Stefan Gunnarsson
Senior lecturer in sustainable animal production in large herds, with special responsibility for extension service


Doctor of veterinary medicine, PhD, Associate professor, EBVS© European Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.

My general research interest has been health and welfare of poultry, pigs, cattle, and fish. Furthermore, I have worked with evaluation of sustainable farming and food production, incl. organic animal production. Another research area has been the philosophy of health and welfare comparing humans and animals.

My interest in interacting with stakeholders has always been strong, and I was the chairman of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Swedish Veterinary association (2013-2016), Member in the Animal Welfare council (2013-2016) and the expert group of laying hens of Swedish national board of agriculture (2000-2016).

In 2011 - 2015, I was and expert in animal health and welfare organic poultry and pigs at EPOK at SLU Link. Furthermore, I was the Chairman of the scientific council of the Swedish Organic certification organisation KRAV 2013-2016.

Scientific co-ordinator for Workshop in poultry welfare 2012-2022 (Better Training for Safer Food organised by the EU Commission).

Chairman of the OIE Working group on animal welfare and laying hens production systems 2016-2021.

Member of the FVE (Federation of Veterinarian in Europe) Working group on animal welfare since 2019.


My teaching experience includes under-graduate students on basic and advanced level incl. PhD course, as well as other target groups for teaching including that I have been invited lecturer to stakeholder’s courses since 1992. At the moment I am main supervisor of one PhD student (externally funded) and I have supervised 3 PhD students and co-supervised 3 PhD students.  I have been the Scientific co-ordinator for Workshop in animal welfare in broiler chickens and laying hens (Better Training for Safer Food organised by the EU Commission, DG Sanco 2012-2016).


I perform research in pigs, laying hens and organic broiler chickens, as well as in sustainable animal production.

I coordinate BroilerNet; a project funded by the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, running from 2022 until 2026. BroilerNet aims to enhance the resilience and sustainability of the European broiler sector by creating space for interaction between science and practice and co-creation of ready-to-use innovative best practices on broiler farms in Europe. The project has 25 partners in 13 countries.

I was main coordinator of the Core Organic project FreeBirds that generated more insight in the relation between chickens’ free range use and health and welfare of the chickens, as well as, to the consequences for the nutrient load of the soil. T Participating countries are Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and Belgium, and was coordinated by me 2018-2021.

I coordinate the Swedish part of the ICT-AGRIFOOD project LivestockSense, which will be running through 2021-2023.

Previously I have been the coordinator for the Swedish part of the European project FareWellDock - Tail docking, tail biting, health and enrichment in pigs. See How pigs can be reared with intact tails as in Sweden. 

SowNest is led by Rebceka Westin, and in this project we investigate the nest building behaviour in sows. 

FAFSynt - Efficiency and Sustainability of Future Animal Food from Swedish farms and water – The primary production, in collaboration with RISE (coordination Stefan Gunnarsson). The general aim of the project is to identify the state of the art, bottlenecks and future solutions in sustainable farm animal production, with main focus on the primary production, in the context of stakeholder knowledge and opinions. The final aim is to establish a tentative agenda for prioritised areas of future research in a multi stakeholder approach.

I have also been involved in a project about Organic broilers, and in the Horizon 2020 projects Hennovation.



In 1992 I became Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and I took my PhD in 2000, I was Associate professor (Docent) in 2009, and in 2012 Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine, Sub-Specialty Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (ECAWBM-AWSEL). I was appointed to the chair of Senior lecturer in Sustainable animal production in 2012.

In my background I have had a wide interest in animal welfare including health, in conventional farming as well as in organic farming. Furthermore, I have a vast experience animal welfare and health in livestock species, i.e. poultry, pigs and cattle, as well as, in game birds and fish. Most of my studies (~250 publications) have been performed in interdisciplinary groups (incl. environmental scientists, philosophers and social scientists) in areas of animal welfare and health in farm animals, nationally and internationally. Through this I have an extended network of scientists nationally and internationally and I have been interacting with stakeholders (incl. authorities in Sweden and DG Sanco). I have a general interest in philosophy and ethics (incl. studies prior to my veterinary degree) which is fundamental in the debate about Animal welfare. I have demonstrated that I am competitive in receiving money, eg. ERA-net, Core organic and Horizon 2020 funding. My international work includes being Secretary General in the International Society for Animal Hygiene 2009-2017.

In 2004 to 2012 I was head of the department of Animal Environment and Health of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal science at the Swedish University of agricultural sciences (SLU) in Skara and Uppsala. Twice I was re-elected, and I resigned after 8.5 years when I was appointed senior lecturer in Senior lecturer in sustainable animal production in large herds, with extension duties.

Studies at the University of Lund, Sweden in 1984-1986

a. Basic philosophy 1 year (including Logics, Philosophy of science and Ethics) 1986

b. History of ideas and sciences (Idé- och lärdomshistoria), 0.5 year, 1986

c. History of literature (Litteraturvetenskap), 1.5 year, 1985


Since 2022, I am supervising Ivana Rodriguez Ewerlöf an engineer and PhD student within MycoModel - Stop the spread of Mycoplasma Bovis and protect free herds. I have supervied four finished PhD students as main supervisor, and three as co-supervisor. Furthermore, I supervise undergraduate students in their final year projects within the ethology and welfare, veterinary program and MSc in animal science. 

Selected publications

Popular reports

Gunnarsson, S.; Ferrante, V.; Brinch Riber, A.; Marchewka, J.; Tuyttens, F.; Ipek, A.; Sözcü, A.; Bestman, M.; Rodenburg, B. and T. van Niekerk, 2021. Promoting range use in broiler chickens. FreeBirds Practice Abstract. Link

Gunnarsson, S.; Ferrante, V.; Brinch Riber, A.; Marchewka, J.; Tuyttens, F.; Ipek, A.; Sözcü, A.; Bestman, M.; Rodenburg, B. and T. van Niekerk, 2021. Promoting range use in laying hens. FreeBirds Practice Abstract. 

Books/Book chapters

Ekesbo, I. and S. Gunnarsson. 2018. Farm animal behaviour. Characteristics for Assessment of Health and Welfare. 2nd Edition. CAB International, Wallingford, UK. ix + 341 pages. Link

Gunnarsson, S. 2018. Technologies for Increasing the Productivity of Poultry: Welfare Implications. In: Are We Pushing Animals to Their Biological Limits? Welfare and Ethical Implications (Ed. Grandin, T. and M. Whiting). CABI Wallingford, UK. pp 63-75. Link

Scientific papers (selected since 2021), complete list is found in ORCID

Banhazi, T. M., A. Banhazi, I. E. Tikasz, Sz. Palotay, K. Mallinger, T. Neubauer, L. Corpaci, U. Marchaim, I. Kopler, S. Opalinski, K. Olejnik, E. Kokin, S. Gunnarsson, T. Bjerre and C. Soerensen, 2024. Facilitating PLF Technology Adoption in the Pig and Poultry Industries. Studies in Agricultural Economics 126(1):43-49   

Kopler, I., Marchaim, U., Tikász, I.E., Opaliński, S., Kokin, E., Mallinger, K., Neubauer, T., Gunnarsson, S., Soerensen,C., Phillips, C. & Th. Banhazi. 2023. Farmers’ perspectives of the benefits and risks in Precision Livestock Farming in the EU pig and poultry sectors. Animals 2023, 13(18), 2868; doi:10.3390/ani13182868

Göransson, L., S. Abeyesinghe, S. Gunnarsson, and J. Yngvesson. 2023. Easier said than done! Organic farmers consider free-ranging important for laying hen welfare but outdoor areas need more shelter – important gaps between research and practice. British Poultry Science:1-8. doi:10.1080/00071668.2023.2220650

Göransson, L., S. Abeyesinghe, J. Yngvesson, and S. Gunnarsson. 2023. How are they really doing? Animal welfare on organic laying hen farms in terms of health and behaviour. British Poultry Science. doi:10.1080/00071668.2023.2241829

Bestman, M., Van Niekerk, T., Göransson, L., Ferrante, V., Gunnarsson, S., Grilli, G., Arndt, S. S. & Rodenburg, T. B., 2023. Free-range use and intestinal parasites in organic/free-range laying hens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 32, (2): 100321 doi:10.1016/j.japr.2022.100321

Sztandarski, P., Marchewka, J., Konieczka, P., Zdanowska-Sąsiadek, Ż., Damaziak, K., Riber, A. B., Gunnarsson, S. & J. O. Horbańczuk, 2022. Gut microbiota activity in chickens from two genetic lines and with outdoor-preferring, moderate-preferring, and indoor-preferring ranging profiles: FREE-RANGING AND CHICKEN MICROBIOME. Poultry Science, 102039. doi:10.1016/j.psj.2022.102039

Sözcü, A., İpek, A, Oğuz, Z., Gunnarsson, S. and A. Brinch Riber, 2022. Comparison of behavioural time budget and welfare indicators in two local laying hen genotypes (Atak-S and Atabey) in a free range system. Animals, 12(1), 46. doi:10.3390/ani12010046 

Wallgren, T. and S. Gunnarsson, 2022. Implementation of Straw Racks in Commercial Pig Housing—Impact on Straw Availability and Pig Behaviour.  Agriculture, 12(1), 5; doi:10.3390/agriculture12010005

Göransson, L., Gunnarsson, S. Wallenbeck, A. and J. Yngvesson, J. 2021. Behaviour in Slower-growing Broilers and Free-range Access on Organic Farms in Sweden. Animals 11, 2967. doi:10.3390/ani11102967 

Marchewka, J., Sztandarski, P., Zdanowska-Sąsiadek, Ż. Adamek-Urbańska, D., Damaziak, K., Wojciechowski, F., Riber, A.B. and S. Gunnarsson 2021. Gastrointestinal tract morphometrics and content of commercial and indigenous chicken breeds with differing ranging profiles. Animals, 11(7):1881. doi:10.3390/ani11071881

Arvidsson Segerkvist, K., Hansson, H., Sonesson, U. and S. Gunnarsson. 2021. A systematic mapping of current literature on sustainability at farm level in beef and lamb meat production. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2488. doi:10.3390/su13052488

Gunnarsson, S., 2021. Applied Research Note: Pre-Testing Of A New Housing System For Breeding Birds Of Layer Strains In Sweden. Journal of Applied Poultry Science, 30(2):100152 doi:10.1016/j.japr.2021.100152

Wallgren, T and S. Gunnarsson, 2021. Effect of Straw Provision in Racks on Tail Lesions, Straw Availability, and Pen Hygiene in Finishing Pigs. Animals 2021, 11(2), 379; doi:10.3390/ani11020379