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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, Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine, Sub-Speciality Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (ECAWBM-AWSEL)

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 is 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). 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 2012-2021 (Better Training for Safer Food organised by the EU Commission).

Chairman of the OIE Working group on animal welfare and laying hens production systems 2016-2020.

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. Furthermore, 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. 

The FreeBirds project will generate 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. The project also aims to develop smart tools and management strategies for improvement of the free-range system for organic poultry. Participating countries are Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and Belgium, and is coordinated by me.

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 am also involved in a project about Organic broilers, and in the Horizon 2020 project Hennovation and 4D4F-Data Driven Dairy Decision For Farmers



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 (~200 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


Cuurently, I am supervising Lina Göransson veterinarian and  PhD student within FreeBirds. I have supervied three 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 (only in english)

Pedersen, L. J., Vestbjerg Larsen, M. L., Jensen, M. B., Wallgren, T. and S. Gunnarsson, 2017. How can enrichment help to reduce tail docking? Pig progess Sep 13, 2017. Link

Vaarst, M., Roderick, S., Martin, G., Gunnarson, S., Spengler Neff, A., Bieber, A. and A.G. Kongsted, 2020. Potentials, challenges and visions for future European organic animal farming. Video Pre-Conference on Animal Husbandry 21-22 September 2020 linked to the 20th Organic World Congress 2021 Organized by IFOAM Animal Husbandry Alliance (IAHA). Proceedings p 11-22. Link

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

Hansson, H., Arvidsson Segerkvist, K., Sonesson, U. and S. Gunnarsson, 2019. Sustainability in animal food production – A systematic map to identify gaps in knowledge. EurSafe2019 - 15th Congress of the European Society for Agriculture and Food Ethics. September, 18 – 21, 2019, Tampere, Finland. Wageningen University Press, Netherlands. p 47-52.

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

Gunnarsson, S. 2018. Utvärdering av systemet ”Veranda Breeder” för värphöns och tuppar i produktion av kläckägg (Evaluation of the Veranda Breeder system for breeding birds of layer strains). Dept. of Animal Environment and health, SLU Skara. Report 50. 44 pages. Link

Scientific papers (since 2019)

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. In print in Journal of Applied Poultry Science. 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

Göransson, L., Yngvesson, J. and S. Gunnarsson, 2020. Bird health, housing and management routines in Swedish organic broiler chicken farms. Animals, 10 (11), 2098.  doi:10.3390/ani10112098

Gunnarsson, S, Arvidsson Segerkvist, K., Wallgren, T., Hjelmstedt, P., Sonesson, U. and H. Hansson, 2020. Systematic Mapping of Research on Farm-level Sustainability in Finfish Aquaculture. Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9985. doi: 10.3390/su12239985

Jung, L., Brenninkmeyer, C., Niebuhr, K., Bestman, M., Tuyttens, F. A. M., Gunnarsson, S., Sørensen, J. T., Ferrari, P. and U. Knierim, 2020. Husbandry conditions and welfare outcomes in organic egg production in eight European countries. Animals, 10(11), 2102; doi:10.3390/ani10112102

Marchewka, J., Sztandarski, P., Zdanowska-Sąsiadek, Ż., Damaziak, K., Wojciechowski, F., Riber, A.B. and S. Gunnarsson, 2020. Associations between welfare and ranging profile in free-range commercial and heritage meat-purpose chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus). Poultry Science, 99(9):4141–4152.

Presto Åkerfeldt, M., Gunnarsson, S., Bernes, G. and I. Blanco-Penedo. 2020. Health and welfare in organic livestock production systems - A systematic mapping of current knowledge. Organic Agriculture, pp 1-28

Wallgren, T., Lundeheim, N. and S. Gunnarsson, 2020. Impact of amount of straw on pig and pen hygiene in partly slatted flooring systems. BMC Veterinary Research, 16:377 doi 10.1186/s12917-020-02594-y

Andersson, E., Frössling, J., Westin, R., Algers, B., and S. Gunnarsson, 2020. Associations between litter size and medical treatments of Swedish Yorkshire sows during farrowing and lactation.  Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Sciences, 69(3):176-182.

Arvidsson Segerkvist, K., Hansson, H., Sonesson, U. and S. Gunnarsson. 2020. Research on environmental, economic, and social sustainability in
dairy farming - a systematic mapping of current literature. Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5502; doi: 10.3390/su12145502

Gunnarsson, S, Arvidsson Segerkvist, K., Wallgren, T., Hansson, H. and U. Sonesson, 2020. A Systematic Mapping of Research on Sustainability Dimensions at Farm-level in Pig Production. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4352; doi:10.3390/su12114352 

Gunnarsson, S, Arvidsson Segerkvist, K., Göransson, L., Hansson, H. and U. Sonesson, 2020. Systematic Mapping of Research on Farm-level Sustainability in Egg and Chicken Meat Production. Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3033;

Wallgren, T., Lundeheim, N., Wallenbeck, A, Westin, R. and Gunnarsson, S. 2019 Rearing pigs with intact tails- experiences and practical solutions in Sweden. Animals 2019, 9, 812; doi:10.3390/ani9100812

Jung, L., Niebuhr, K., Hinrichsen, L.K., Gunnarsson, S., Brenninkmeyer, C., Bestman, M., Heerkens, J., Ferrari, P. and U. Knierim, 2019. Possible risk factors for keel bone damage in organic laying hens. Animal, 2019:1-9, doi: 10.1017/S175173111900003X

Lindgren, K., Gunnarsson, S., Höglund, J., Lindahl, C. and A. Roepstorff, 2020. Nematode parasite eggs in pasture soils and pigs on organic farms in Sweden. Organic Agriculture, 10(3), 289-300 . DOI 10.1007/s13165-019-00273-3 

Wilhelmsson, S., Yngvesson, J., Jönsson, L., Gunnarsson, S and A. Wallenbeck. 2019. Welfare Quality® assessment of a fast-growing and a slower-growing broiler hybrid, reared until 10 weeks and fed a low-protein, high-protein or mussel-meal diet. Livestock science, 219: 71-79. doi:10.1016/j.livsci.2018.11.010

Senior Lecturer at the Department of Animal Environment and Health; Division of Environment, Care and Herd Health
Telephone: +4651167216
Postal address:
Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Box 234
532 23 SKARA
Visiting address: Gråbrödragatan 19, Skara