Good animal welfare is important. In Norway, it is well protected and highly regulated, but more knowledge about the status of animal welfare in farm animals is still required. This research project aims to improve animal welfare in cattle herds and to motivate farmers to engage with animal welfare improvement.

01 May 2020 - 31 Dec 2024

Collaborative project financed by Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri (FFL/JA), TINE og Animalia.

  • Animal welfare is an important topic for consumers, legislators, and farmers. In Norway, animal welfare is protected and regulated through strict laws, regulations, governmental guidelines, and an extensive auditing system. We still to need increase the knowledge base about the status of welfare in farm animals in Norway. The use of routine herd data (RHD) as a cost-effective diagnostic tool to detect herds with poor welfare has recently been the subject of scientific investigation. . 

    Norway has a unique opportunity to investigate how RHD can effectively and continuously estimate the status of dairy cow welfare on-farm as most herds participate in Kukontrollen, the Norwegian national database. The dairy industry has developed a so-called ‘Animal Welfare Indicator’ (AWI) using data from Kukontrollen, which aims to provide a continuous estimate of animal welfare in dairy herds. 

    The AWI is said to indicate the overall status of animal welfare at herd level, and also the status of certain aspects such as udder health, youngstock, calves, dehorning, claw health, etc. WelCow will assess animal welfare in dairy herds using a recognized animal welfare assessment protocol and compare the results to those of the AWI. WelCow will also provide insight into how to optimize the existing AWI, so that farmers can use it on a continuous basis to improve the welfare of their animals. In order to improve animal welfare on-farm, farmers are the most important factor. WelCow will therefore assess attitudes and intentions among farmers towards animal welfare with the aim of using these results to encourage farmers to further engage with the topic. Continuous insight into animal welfare will strengthen the sustainability of dairy herds and the supply chain in conventional agriculture. WelCow will generate new knowledge and technology for the agricultural and food industry, and promote competitive, profitable, and sustainable supply chains in agriculture. 

    In the winter of 2021, TINE announced a competition to find a Norwegian name for the WelCow project. The winning entry was ‘Kutrivsel’ and that is the name we will use for the project when referring to it in Norwegian. 

    Read more about the competition at tine.no. 

    In the autumn of 2023, the project will send out a questionnaire to a selection of dairy farmers to get help in the next stage of the project. 

    You can read moe about the questionnaire here.

    We hope the dairy farmers we contact will take the time to respond. An e-mail with a link to the questionnaire will be sent out at the beginning of November from prosjekt-kutrivsel@nmbu.no

  • WelCow will assess animal welfare in cattle herds using a recognized animal welfare assessment protocol. WelCow will also provide insight into how to optimize the existing ‘Animal Welfare Indicator’ so that farmers can use it on a continuous basis to improve the welfare of their animals. In order to improve animal welfare in the barn, the farmers are the most important factor. WelCow will therefore also assess farmers attitudes and intentions regarding animal welfare with the aim of using these results to encourage the farmer to further improve animal welfare 

    Collaborating partners

    Kristian Ellingsen-Dalskau

    Seniorforsker ved Veterinærinstituttet

    Anna Vøien Aaby

    Masterstudent i husdyrvitenskap, ansatt i prosjektet Kutrivsel

    Olav Østerås

    Stine Grønmo Kischel

    TINE Rådgivning

    Christoph Winckler

    University of natural resources and life sciences, Vienna

    Per Arne Tufte

    Universitetet i Oslo

    Åse Margrethe Sogstad


    Kjerstin Marlene

    Frøyland Gård

    Anja Fyksen Lillehaug

    Norges Bondelag

    Collaborating partners 

    • TINE
    • Animalia
    • Veterinærinstituttet
    • Norges Bondelag
    • Universitetet of Oslo (UiO)
    • BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • Conor Barry og en presentasjon fra et foredrag

    Buskap, utgave 7, 2023

    Delindikator klauv og besetningens halthetsstatus

    Foreløpige forskningsresultater viser at det er en klar sammenheng mellom poengsummen for delindikator klauv og forekomsten av halthet i besetningen.

    Kyr på beite

    Sender spørreskjema til landets melkebønder

    Høsten 2023 sender prosjektet ut et spørreskjema til et utvalg melkeprodusenter for å få hjelp i det videre arbeidet. Vi håper produsentene vil ta seg tid til å svare.

    • WelCow visited approximately 160 dairy herds this year. Researcher Conor Barry has himself travelled around the country in a campervan to visit approximately 100 of the herds

      - My colleagues will still visit some herds, but I have parked the campervan and finished my part of the data collection. Now I can't wait to look at all the data we've collected, calculate scores, and carry out analysis. A lot of exciting work remains, so I look forward to seeing what the data shows, he says. 

      He says that he has had a fun autumn. 

      - It has been fantastic to meet so many clever Norwegian farmers. I would like to say thank you very much to everyone who welcomed me and my colleagues and thank you for all the cups of coffee and pleasant conversations. And thanks also to all those who have agreed to participate, but who have not yet been visited. Thank you for your cooperation and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

    • On Saturday, Conor visited the northernmost herd participating in the project. Fittingly, he got some snow! 

      WelCow has now visited 110 Norwegian dairy farms between Lierne and Lindesnes. 

      Soon we will reach our goal of visiting 160 herds. Everyone in WelCow would like to give a big thank you to all the dairy farmers who have participated so far and those who have arranged a visit in the coming months. 

    • PhD candidate Conor Barry is whizzing around in his campervan and meeting thousands of cows. This week his dog, Seamus, was also allowed to come along for the trip. 

      Coner og hund
      Conor i Fjøset
      Conor i fjøset
      Kuer i fjøset
      Kuer i fjøset.
      Naturbilde av Loen
      Naturbilde fjord
      Sauer på fjellet
    • It is nice to travel around and see how the cows adapt to their surroundings and enjoy extra measures for better animal welfare! Here is a cow really enjoying herself with her cow brush. 

    • Conor Barry has visited 38 herds this spring. Now he is taking a summer break before visiting around 100 herds from August onwards. 

    • Conor Barry is out on the road in a campervan to visit 150 dairy farms. 

      Conor i Fjøset
      Conor i Fjøset.