The Welfair™ animal welfare certificate, developed by IRTA and NEIKER, is recognised for its innovation

29 March 2021

Animal welfare certification Welfair™, recognised by the large-scale Consumption Innovation Observatory as one of the most innovative projects

  • The animal welfare certification developed by IRTA in collaboration with NEIKER was recognised by the Large-Scale Consumption Innovation Observatory for taking on challenges and responding to the needs of society and responsible consumption

Through Institute Cerdà, the Large-Scale Consumption Innovation Observatory has identified the biggest challenges to the human healthcare and wellness industry, as well as corporate commitment to the environment. The Observatory included the Welfair™ animal welfare certificate among the 20 innovations highlighted for large-scale consumption.

This distinction developed by the Institute of Agri-food Research and Technology Institute (IRTA) in collaboration with the NEIKER technology centre is the first Animal Welfare certification focused on observing and assessing the animals and their behaviour. The certification for which NEIKER developed the protocols for the bovine and turkey species also includes protocols for hens, chickens, pigs, rabbits and quails raised for food production.

The Welfair™ certification shows consumers that the animals connected to the seal lived and were slaughtered under ethically responsible welfare conditions, pursuant to the protocols established by the European Welfare Quality and Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) projects.

Here is how the four fundamental animal welfare principles are assessed:

  • Proper diet, freedom from hunger and thirst.
  • Proper environment and shelter, allowing them to move, feel comfortable in their rest area, and not be too hot or too cold.
  • Good health, including freedom from pain, injury, and disease.
  • Appropriate behaviour for the species, including positive social behaviour, showing the major behaviours of the species and no uncharacteristic behaviours, appropriate interaction between animals and their caretakers, such that they show no fear of people and have a generally positive emotional state.

Around 25,000 farms in Spain currently have the Welfair™ certification and the types of foods on which consumers can find the Welfair™ seal include meat, eggs and dairy products including milk, shakes, cheese, butter, and yoghurt. The products bearing the seal can be purchased in more than 4,000 establishments throughout the country.

To get and maintain the Welfair™ certificate, companies must undergo an annual audit by a certification body belonging to the Welfair™ Certification Scheme and their auditors must be trained as established by the Welfare Quality Network or AWIN. The IRTA oversees the management and control of the certification to ensure assessment protocols are properly applied, culminating in a seal that indicates a scientific endorsement that consumers are choosing the most ethical products.

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