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Who are we?

The dairy industry has undergone profound changes over the last half-century. From changes in housing methods to increased milk production through genetic selection, the industry has strived to become more efficient and more profitable. However, these changes have led to unforeseen consequences to cow health and longevity and thus have resulted in concerns for dairy cattle welfare. This has also been compounded by the ever-growing societal concerns for animal welfare. This is where our team of researchers comes in!


From 2016 - 2022:  Establishment of CowLife McGill through the NSERC Industrial Research Chair on Sustainable Life of Dairy Cattle


In joint action with our industry partners Novalait, Valacta (now Lactanet), and Dairy Farmers of Canada, our team worked on an initiative to investigate and determine ideal recommendations for producers looking to meet or exceed current proAction® standards. Our research focussed on changes to housing and management systems, with a focus on stall configuration and opportunities for movement, in order to improve the longevity and profitability dairy cows, especially for tie-stall housed cows – which represent a majority of Quebec dairies. Since we began our mission, our research has influenced significant changes in practices on farms in Canada, including the release of the new Dairy Code of Practice. The biggest change from past versions of the Code relates directly to our research on freedom of movement, and mandates that all cows have access to exercise (indoor or outdoor) by 2027. This is a massive change in our country where cows are commonly raised in confinement.


From 2022 – : A new era through the launch of Research and Innovation Chair in Animal Welfare and Artificial Intelligence (WELL-E)


As a next step, our team began a new initiative in collaboration with Professor Abdoulaye Baniré Diallo at UQAM, this time with a larger net of industrial partners: Novalait, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, les Producteurs de lait du Quebec, and Lactanet. Professor Diallo brings with him his expertise in artificial intelligence and IoT, which will enhance our ability to detect changes in the behaviour and welfare of dairy cows before the onset of visible outcomes as well as to generate predictions that will support on-farm decision-making and ensure that efforts are focused on animals most likely to succeed (or remain) in the herd long-term. Together, we aim to understand the impact of modifications to housing systems, management practices and animal handling on the welfare and the longevity of dairy cows. The initiative will be constituted as a Digital Living Lab focuses on both animals’ and end users’ needs.

Interested in joining? Please contact us! We are always growing, come and see!

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