Main research question/goal
The aim of this project is to evaluate the possibilities of using animal welfare in marketing strategies in a succesful, scientifically-founded manner. Research approach
We use the Welfare Quality® (WQ) protocol at dairy farms to examine the variation in cattle welfare and the effort needed to reach a higher level of welfare. The welfare scores are linked to data on housing, management and information from existing databases. The goal is to select candidate markers which indicate a heightened risk for comprised welfare. This also leads to the determination of the best and economically most feasible frequency and method of welfare monitoring. Furthermore we examine which marketing strategy best motivates the consumer to buy welfare-friendly milk, if and how the dairy farmer wishes to apply improvement strategies to achieve a welfare friendly but profitable production system, and a participative process which allows us to gain insight into the perceptions of stakeholders in all abovementioned aspects.Relevance/Valorisation
Consumers view animal welfare as an important quality aspect of high-quality nutrition. The increasing societal call for improvement in animal welfare is for the most part answered by means of legal minimum demands for housing and management. MELKWEL answers the societal call by initiatives from within the dairy industry itself. These initiatives aim to create an added value by responding to the wishes of the consumer, while being based on a sound scientific method to monitor animal welfare. Prerequisites to using such a method in practice are its validity, costs, transparency and informativeness. The Welfare Quality® protocol is a monitoring system that is valid, informative and could be presented in a transparent manner, but is expensive to deply on a large scale. The extra costs associated with applying welfare monitoring and the costs of animal friendly production methods will be compensated by means of a market strategy which motivates consumers to pay extra for a product produced in a animal-friendly manner.