Farm animal well-being

Because farm animal
well-being works.


The project kicked off in June 2019 at Boehringer Ingelheim’s 12th Expert Forum on Farm Animal Well-being held in Prague.

To explore and prioritise candidate target factors that impact cattle well-being, Innovia designed and ran an interactive workshop with the forum participants.

Stage 1 approach

During this workshop valuable insight into possible factors that can impact cattle well-being was gathered. A total of 47 distinct factors were reported. Three quarters of the concerns fell evenly into the following three buckets: 1-people (including determinants, behaviours, and unclear references to people), 2-husbandry and 3-health outcomes. Farm management and cattle’s internal states made up the rest of the issues.

In terms of the individual factors mentioned, lameness was most frequently referred to, followed by pain, housing, farmers, management, knowledge and animal handling.

Independently to the workshop, Innovia conducted supplementary desk-based research and identified a number of additional key factors that affect cattle well-being by combining internal veterinary knowledge with a brief review of academic literature. The potential impact and incidence of these factors were qualitatively assessed.

This process enabled Innovia to develop a list of key priority areas around 9 target factors that have been consistently identified as having a high impact on cattle well-being:

Lameness Mutilations
(disbudding and castration)
Pain Housing Stocking density
Nutrition Farm management Veterinarian–farmer

The factors identified in the forum and in Innovia’s research could be conceptually grouped into 5 domains. These domains (and the factors within them) interact with each other to impact farm-animal well-being.

To enable a successful behaviour-change programme to be developed, we needed to define our target factor more specifically than most of the forum participants. For our project, we needed to select a target factor defined by factors from multiple domains in the conceptual model.

The diagram below provides example target factors at an appropriate level of specificity for this project:

Stage 1: Selecting a target factor diagram

At the end of stage 1 the joint BI-Innovia core team selected the “detection and treatment of pain, with a focus on mastitis, respiratory disease and assisted calving” as the target factor to focus on for next step of the project.