Joint Chair aims to leverage AI and IoT to improve animal welfare in Canadian dairy farms

Published: 24 April 2023

McGill University and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) announced today the creation of the Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence (WELL-E). The five-year, $5 million Chair will carry out a major research project funded by a grant from NSERC Alliance and PROMPT, fiduciary of the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy. Important contributions have also been made by industrial partners Novalait, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), Les Producteurs de Lait du Québec (PLQ), and Lactanet.

This initiative comes at a time when, on the one hand, demand for sustainable animal production is led by citizen concerns regarding animal welfare and environmental sustainability, while, on the other, economic pressure on dairy producers is mounting due to changes in markets and increasing input prices with little to no changes in output sale prices. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that animal welfare and cow longevity are correlated. This has led the industry to focus on cow welfare and improved longevity as a key to addressing issues of economic, social, and environmental sustainability in dairy farming.

The Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence (WELL-E) - which will be led by Professor Elsa Vasseur, Department of Animal Science, McGill University and Professor Abdoulaye Baniré Diallo, Department of Computer Science, UQAM, – relies on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), allowing for earlier detection of changes in cow welfare and longevity, before the onset of visible signs.

Read the full article in the McGill Newsroom,

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