Welfare Quality® is a European research project carried out from 2004 to 2009 to integrate farm animal welfare into the agri-food quality production chain. The project’s objective was to address social concerns and market demands for the development of reliable farm monitoring systems, product information systems and species-specific practical strategies to improve animal welfare.

The Welfare Quality® project researchers defined four principles of animal welfare: good housing, good feeding, good health and appropriate behaviour. Within these principles, 12 different but complementary animal welfare criteria were identified: “Principles and Criteria for Farm Animal Welfare”. In practice, the evaluation system developed by Welfare Quality® researchers measures each of these 12 criteria in five types of production for three species: dairy cows, fattener pigs, laying hens and broiler chickens.

More than 40 institutions from 15 different European countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic) participated in the project, among them, the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA).


The European Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) project succeeded the Welfare Quality® project from 2011 to 2015 to complete its mission by developing scientific protocols and indicators with the same methodology for five species: sheep, goats, horses, donkeys and turkeys, to identify the ideal way to improve their welfare and ensure the sector’s future sustainability. The project was carried out by 11 institutions from nine countries (Germany, Brazil, Spain, the United States, Italy, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic). Participating among them was the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development (NEIKER), IRTA’s partner in Welfair® certification.