<Back to projects listing

Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence (WELL-E)


molecules image

Project Overview

Responsible livestock production is becoming an increasing focus for Canadian dairy science researchers, particularly as concerns over animal welfare and ecological stability grow. As demand for responsible production of livestock continues, there is also increasing economic pressure on farmers. To assist the Canadian dairy industry and its farmers in meeting changing needs, researchers are looking for ways to improve animal welfare and increase cow longevity through artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies. The Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence the first research chair of its kind. This initiative will carry out cutting-edge innovations in informatics to improve the well-being and longevity of dairy cows in Canada. Through the use of new technologies, including AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), the researchers aim to develop toolkits for monitoring and improving welfare for both humans and animals. 

What Will the Research Team Do?

The research team will i) evaluate the impact of cows’ environment and its impact on their well-being, based on metrics evaluating the animals' emotions, biomechanics and biomarkers, ii) assess the long-term profitability of herds and the survival of dairy cows to develop predictors of longevity and well-being, iii) determine ways to ensure that data is more reliable and collected more efficiently, iv) examine how to address the challenges arising from automated manipulation and processing of data from cow activity sensors and detectors. 

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Evaluate improvements to current housing systems through stall enrichment, handling impacts, and access to exercise
  • Assess the impacts of transitioning from stable to non-stall systems to help cows and producers adapt
  • Develop predictive models based on: 
    • AI-powered early indicators of wellbeing issues
    • Machine learning to remotely detect herds at risk of welfare deterioration
  • Develop infrastructure and software to optimize data collection and analysis of dairy farm ecosystems
  • Solve current challenges in collecting and standardizing data from commercial databases
  • Refine existing infrastructure to support research axes no.1 and no.2
  • Ensure the integration of heterogeneous data by modeling ontologies and knowledge graphs in order to represent data from multiple sources
  • Develop prediction and prescription algorithms to support dairy producers’ decisions regarding their livestock
  • Evaluate decision-making tools based on on-farm prediction indicators
  • Ensure that tools developed for dairy producers comply with the strictest privacy laws

Principal Investigators

Elsa Vasseur
McGill University 

Abdoulaye Baniré Diallo
Université du Québec à Montréal

Key Words

  • Longevity, Artificial Intelligence, Animal Welfare, Data Management

Link to the research chair: https://www.well-e.org/en/

Period: 2022-2027
Budget: $4M

Last Updated: July 03, 2024

Funding Partners