The Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) of the Generalitat of Catalonia works for modernization and improvement and to boost competitivity; for the sustainable development of the agricultural, food, agroforestry, aquaculture and fishing sectors, and those directly or indirectly related to supplying safe and quality food to end consumers; for food safety and food processing; and, in general, to improve the populations’ health and wellbeing.

Its general objectives are to promote research and technological development in the agri-food area, to facilitate the transfer of scientific advances and to evaluate its own technological advances, seeking maximum coordination and collaboration with the public and private sectors.

IRTA’s Animal Welfare Program has been researching and developing protocols alongside international experts of the Welfare Quality® Network for more than 15 years.

NEIKER is a Basque Government-dependent technology centre which generates knowledge and adds value to the agri-food and environmental sectors. NEIKER develops new technologies to improve farm productivity and management so as to meet the quality and safety requirements demanded by the agri-food industry and the end consumer. NEIKER generates scientific knowledge and transferable solutions that contribute wealth and welfare to society and the environment.

The Welfare Quality® Network is an international network for collaboration and expertise born out of the European Welfare Quality® project (2004-2009) and formed by a large number of its former members. This network focuses on scientific exchange and activities that contribute to the further development of Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment systems. As such, it also provides expertise and services to support those involved in the animal production chain who wish to implement these systems. The Welfare Quality® Network activities focus on the following areas:
  • System and support tool management (including training and system use by the Welfare Quality® Network);
  • System maintenance and updating.
  • Encouraging participation of all interested parties.
  • Prioritizing and facilitating research.
The Welfare Quality® Network management team consists of the network coordinator and president, Harry Blokhuis (SLU), and members Isabelle Veissier (INRA), Mara Miele (CU), Antoni Dalmau (IRTA) and Bryan Jones.

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



Laura Freixa Casabella
Welfair Manager


Antoni Dalmau
WelfairTM Principal Investigator

Antonio Velarde
Head of IRTA Animal Welfare Program

Joaquim Pallisera
Responsible for pigs, fattening cattle in slaughterhouse and sheep/goats in slaughterhouse

Xènia Moles
Responsible for dairy cows

Arancha Varvaró
Responsible for broiler chickens and turkeys in slaughterhouse

Aida Xercavins
Responsible for laying hens

Mireia Ruiz
Administrative Management for Animal Welfare

Úrsula Palazón
Welfair Technician


Alejandra Moreno
Welfair Technician

Carolina Cardoso Nagib Nascimento
Welfair Technician


Inma Estévez
Behavior and Animal Welfare Group Leader (IKERBASQUE)

Roberto Ruiz
Head of NEIKER Animal Production

Xavier Averós
Responsible for turkeys on farm

Ina Beltrán
Responsible for sheep and goats on farm