Animal Welfare

Good animal welfare in livestock production is important. The Norwegian livestock industry is working to gather knowledge that can contribute to improving animal welfare. In several areas, it is challenging to determine what constitutes good welfare for the animals at all times.

To maintain continuous efforts for animal welfare in Norwegian livestock production, Animalia has developed animal welfare programs for poultry, sheep, pigs, and cattle. These programs are intended to contribute to ensuring that animal welfare becomes a shared competitive advantage for the livestock industry in Norway. Maintaining this advantage requires a clear common goal to achieve a documented level of animal welfare beyond public minimum requirements.  

Click on the video below for a presentation of Animalia's animal welfare programs (click the subtitle-button to turn on English subtitles).


Criteria for animal welfare

In 1965, the Brambell Committee in the United Kingdom introduced the first welfare criteria for livestock. These "Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare" are still widely used today.

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress

Over time, more knowledge has been gained about what animal welfare entails, and new elements have been incorporated into the concept of welfare. Today, the discussion mainly revolves around three matters:

  • The animal's biological function: health and production.
  • The animal's subjective experience of its daily environment: negative and positive emotions and experiences, such as fear and pain.
  • The opportunity for "a natural life" / the ability to engage in normal species-specific behavior.

Health and production are relatively easy to assess. But if you include the animal's subjective experiences and behavior, it becomes more difficult to assess welfare.It is not easy to determine how a livestock animal truly experiences its existence. As a starting point for evaluating and improving the welfare of our livestock, we must therefore use the knowledge we have about the animals' needs and compare this with what we observe. Together, observations of behaviour, health, environment and production results can give us a picture of how the animals are doing. Good production results in themselves are not necessarily an expression of good welfare. But poor production results can indicate that there are unfortunate welfare factors behind it.