Welfare of cows

All Maitomaa dairy farms are Welfare Quality® certified. The certificate is granted to farms where the well-being of cows is regularly measured according to a system based on up-to-date research data. Maitomaa is the second dairy in Europe that has been granted the certificate.

Maitomaa also produces milk that has been granted the ELVI label, which is the first animal welfare package label in Finland. The label’s strict criteria are based on scientific studies and its use is supervised by an independent operator, FinWelfare Oy. The international Welfare Quality system developed for measuring animal welfare and the ELVI label complement each other: ELVI requires conditions that support animal welfare and WQ measures the results.

Why is Welfare Quality® a good method for measuring welfare?

1. WQ looks at things from the point of view of the animals, not humans
It cannot be automatically concluded that the animal is doing well if certain criteria are met in terms of the structure of the barn or the fluency of barn operations, for example, but welfare is assessed by observing the animal and its behavior.

2. WQ observes animal welfare comprehensively
WQ is based on research that is used to determine species-specific criteria and principles for animal welfare. With these tools, the well-being of cows can be examined comprehensively and potential areas for improvement are easy to notice.

3. WQ takes animal welfare into account beyond the minimum level defined by law
The WQ audits help to better understand the species-specific needs and behavior of cows and provide tools to continuously improve animal welfare.

On-going auditing. Photo: Essi Wallenius.

4. The welfare of the cows is also monitored by an independent party
A specialist visits the farms regularly, ensuring that any changes in the well-being of the cows are noticed even when these changes take place over a long period of time.

5. WQ is not dependent on countries’ own standards set for the living conditions of farm animals
With a Europe-wide measurement system, animal welfare can be viewed everywhere in accordance with the same principles.


Prudence the cow lives in a barn in the Kuopio region. It is sociable and curious and likes to follow people who visit the barn.

Prudence also goes outside in the winter.