ICAR/IDF workshop on “Animal-based indicators” – April 2021

Welfare assessment is becoming increasingly important in the dairy industry. Good animal welfare is a cornerstone of good farming practice, but methods that allow welfare to be measured mean that the results can be used in quality assurance schemes for producers, retailers, consumers and the wider public. Many animal-based indicators assessing the different aspects of dairy cow welfare have been developed in recent years and work is still on-going.

For the above reasons, during the 2021 ICAR Annual Conference  ICAR and IDF jointly organise a virtual workshop on “Animal-based indicators to promote welfare in dairy cows”. The workshop is scheduled on 26 April (h. 14.00-17.00, Paris time) by a virtual platform

The workshop will explore current initiatives in the development and use of welfare indicators and assessment schemes for dairy cattle. Presentations from industry leaders will also show how welfare indicators are being incorporated into schemes and explore the opportunities and challenges for harmonisation and integration of welfare indicators.


Plenary talk: How can animal-based indicators promote the welfare of dairy cows?
Elsa Vasseur (McGill University, CA)

Open Session: Animal welfare recording initiatives with focus on animal-based indicators from different countries

  • Development of a Tail Scoring as Health Indicator for Dairy Cows (S. Meier, K. Abel & P.V. Kremer-Rücker)
  • Identification of dairy cows chronic stress biomarkers (C. Grelet, V. Vanden Dries, J. Leblois, J. Wavreille, L. Mirabito, H. Soyeurt, S. Franceschini, N. Gengler, HappyMoo consortium & F. Dehareng)
  • Use of a respiration rate sensor in dairy cows as an animal-based welfare indicator (G. Hoffmann, J. Heinicke, C. Ammon, S. Strutzke, S. Pinto & T. Amon)
  • How precise are tools measuring animal-based welfare indicators in dairy cattle? (A.H. Stygar, Y. Gómez, G.V. Berteselli, E. Dalla Costa, E. Canali, J.K. Niemi, P. Llonch, M. Pastell)
  • A national initiative to help French dairy farmers to improve the welfare of cows (B. Mounaix, V. David, E. Pommier & N. Ballot)
  • Development and implementation of an on-farm self-monitoring tool to promote welfare in dairy cows in northern Germany (H. Lehrke, J. Brinkmann, H. Kahle, O. Lamp & H. Rowehl)
  • The intersection of on-farm animal welfare evaluation and technology integration as the future of animal-based indicators for animal welfare measurement: an example from the United States (J.S. Jonker & E.E. Yesier-Stepp)
  • Practical plan and guidance for monitoring and managing animal welfare in Israeli dairy farms (T. Schcolnik, Y. Lavon & E. Ezra)
  • Animal Welfare Assessment: Can We Develop a Practical, Time-Limited Assessment Protocol for Pasture-Based Dairy Cows in New Zealand? (S. Sapkota, R. Laven , K. Müller & N. Kells)

Harmonisation of animal based welfare indicators. Future needs, challenges and perspectives
Chair: Marie Haskell, Member of the ICAR FT WG and Ilka Klaas (Delaval, DK)

Best practices, challenges and perspectives from various stakeholder groups. Short introductory statements:

  • Olav Osteras (TINE Herd Advisory Division, NOR)
  • Daniel Lefebvre (VALACTA, CAN); President of ICAR
  • Jemma Holden (Red Tractor, UK)

General discussion

ICAR, Arthur van Schendelstraat 650, 3511 MJ Utrecht, The Netherlands - Email: icar@icar.org