Swine Cluster 1

A comparison of three animal welfare assessment programs 

on Canadian swine farms 

Project leaders


  • Tina Widowski, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario 
  • Penny Lawlis, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Woodstock, Ontario


Project objective


  • Compare three on-farm animal welfare programs (Canada’s Animal Care Assessment™ (ACA), USA’s Pork Quality Assurance® (PQA) Plus, EU’s Welfare Quality® Assessment) as they pertain to Canadian farms. 
  • Determine inter-observer reliabilities for different measures included in each of the assessments.



Summary of the project


This project involves the collection and analysis of data from Canadian swine farms across Canada (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) in order to identify the practical implications of applying each of three animal welfare assessment programs on Canadian swine farms. Results of this project will allow us to determine the concordance (agreement) among the different programs in ranking of farms and to investigate the repeatability among observers for different measures that may be included in the Canadian ACA. The project will also provide baseline data with respect to the status of Canadian farms and their compliance with all three on-farm animal welfare assessment programs.



Significant achievements


A team of assessors for the Ontario trials has been recruited and trained for the ACA™, Welfare Quality® and PQA®. Data collection aimed at determining inter-observer reliability for various measures included in the assessments has begun on Ontario farms.