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Welfare Quality®: Science and society improving animal welfare in the food quality chain
EU funded project FOOD-CT-2004-506508

Animal welfare is of considerable importance to European consumers. Nowadays food quality is not only determined by the overall nature and safety of the end product but also by the perceived welfare status of the animals from which the food is produced. The fact that improving the animal’s welfare can positively affect product quality, pathology and disease resistance also has a direct bearing on food quality and safety.
The Welfare Quality® project focussed on integration of animal welfare in the food quality chain: from public concern to improved welfare and transparent quality. The project aimed to accommodate societal concerns and market demands, to develop reliable on-farm monitoring systems, product information systems, and practical species-specific strategies to improve animal welfare. Throughout this Integrated Project efforts were focused on three main species and their products: cattle (beef and dairy), pigs, and poultry (broiler chickens and laying hens).

The research program was designed to develop European standards for on-farm welfare assessment and product information systems as well as practical strategies for improving animal welfare. The standards for on-farm welfare assessment and information systems have been be based upon consumer demands, the marketing requirements of retailers and stringent scientific validation. The key was to link informed animal product consumption to animal husbandry practices on the farm. The project therefore adopted a “fork to farm” rather than the traditional “farm to fork” approach”.
Welfare Quality® will make significant contributions to the societal sustainability of European agriculture.

Welfare Quality® was a project funded by the European Commission. It was an integrated project in the sixth framework programme, priority 5: Food Quality and safety. Forty-four institutes and universities (representing thirteen European countries and four Latin American countries) with specialist expertise participate in this integrated research project. The project started in May 2004 and  took over five years to complete.

» Introduction: the Welfare Quality Story  Video

» Project overview, facts and figures
: Project Leaflet Welfare Quality