Boviwell is a French system for assessing animal welfare on beef cattle farms. It is based on the principle of Welfare Quality. Whereas Welfare Quality is build on the platform of the so-called Five Freedoms: freedom from hunger or thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from fear and distress. As can be seen in the assessment result below, Boviwell has turned the 5 freedoms into 4 categories:

  • Liberté 1: Ne pas souffrier de faim et soif = good feeding
  • Liberté 2: Ne pas souffrier d'inconfort = good housing
  • Liberté 3: Ne pas souffrier de douleurs, blessures et maladies = good health
  • Liberté 4&5: Comportements appropriés = appropriate behaviours

An assessment of the animals and their environment leads to a classification of each individual area, which subsequently also results in a classification of the entire farm. The following 4 classifications are possible:

  • Level "Unclassified"
  • Level "In progress"
  • Level “Superior”
  • Level "Excellent"

After half a day of diagnosis, the farmer knows:

  • the level of animal welfare on the farm
  • the criteria which are strong points of animal welfare on his farm, and which he must pursue
  • criteria which are weak points in terms of animal welfare, and which require a real process of progress
  • its level compared to the average of other breeders who have passed this same diagnosis.

(Compare to the picture below)

 

The French beef industry (example: Label Rouge, or regional initiatives) decided to communicate to the customers on the “higher” or “excellent” levels of the diagnosis. The other "Unclassified" and "In progress" levels do not prevent the marketing of the animals, but do not allow communication to the customer. These levels are then found in the “Viande Bovine Française (VBF)” procedures. The "Unclassified" level leads to specific supervision of the farm by departmental structures (FDSEA, Chamber of Agriculture, etc.)

Some of the animal welfare indicators can also affect animal performance (ADG): absence of thirst, or absence of hunger. Working and making progress on these indicators leads to better economic performance for the operation. For farmers who have “superior” or “excellent” levels, it can bring new outlets with valuation, because it is coupled with contractualization, the price of which must be formulated on the basis of the cost of production.

As part of a continuous improvement process, Arnaud Blandin, breeder of Charolais in Allier has implemented an animal welfare diagnosis (Boviwell). “My breeding is classified superior in the Boviwell approach. However, following this diagnosis, I added a few water points and increased the flow in the buildings to facilitate access to water. I also reduced the number of animals per pen a bit, and removed the few stuck spaces that remained and replaced them with a new mulched area. "