This study aimed to explore the applicability of blockchain as an instrument to convey clear and unalterable information on the welfare of food-producing animals, in order to improve consumers’ trust in farmers and in the livestock sector. Dairy products were taken as a case-study, and parameters listed in the ClassyFarm welfare assessment protocol were used. An exploratory questionnaire was submitted to a small sample of Italian consumers (N = 112) asking them to rate, on a 0-to-5 scale, the perceived importance of each of the parameters of the ClassyFarm checklist in determining dairy cows’ welfare. Based on the ratings attributed by consumers, a prototype webpage was built, in which animal welfare parameters could be shown to consumers based on their perceived importance. The Blockchain-based prototype was built so that consumers, through a QR-code and/or a batch number printed on the dairy product packaging, could access a specifically-created ‘landing page’. The landing page allowed consumers to freely navigate among different animal welfare parameters and showed first those parameters which were rated as more important in the questionnaire. For each parameter, the page would provide specific information on the farm (or farms) from which the milk came from. Each parameter, classified as insufficient, improvable, or optimal according to the ClassyFarm protocol, would be visualized in the landing page using an intuitive traffic-light system (red, yellow, or green, respectively), and providing additional information upon request. Our method allowed the creation of a prototype that would allow consumers to retrieve information concerning the product of animal origin they are going to buy. The prototype was meant to be intuitive and easy to understand also for those having no previous knowledge about animal production or animal welfare. This case-study could represent a first step towards using blockchain technology for animal welfare certification, fostering a direct information exchange between producers and consumers, thus enhancing the growth of new, diversified markets based on trust and transparency. A foreseeable weakness would be the need to feed the system with very heterogeneous data, originating from different data acquisition systems that are not always fit with automation. This issue could be overcome over the next years thanks to the progressive implementation of the integrated ClassyFarm system.

Using Blockchain for animal welfare labelling: a case-study on dairy products

Giovanna Martelli;Luca Sardi;Eleonora Nannoni
2021

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the applicability of blockchain as an instrument to convey clear and unalterable information on the welfare of food-producing animals, in order to improve consumers’ trust in farmers and in the livestock sector. Dairy products were taken as a case-study, and parameters listed in the ClassyFarm welfare assessment protocol were used. An exploratory questionnaire was submitted to a small sample of Italian consumers (N = 112) asking them to rate, on a 0-to-5 scale, the perceived importance of each of the parameters of the ClassyFarm checklist in determining dairy cows’ welfare. Based on the ratings attributed by consumers, a prototype webpage was built, in which animal welfare parameters could be shown to consumers based on their perceived importance. The Blockchain-based prototype was built so that consumers, through a QR-code and/or a batch number printed on the dairy product packaging, could access a specifically-created ‘landing page’. The landing page allowed consumers to freely navigate among different animal welfare parameters and showed first those parameters which were rated as more important in the questionnaire. For each parameter, the page would provide specific information on the farm (or farms) from which the milk came from. Each parameter, classified as insufficient, improvable, or optimal according to the ClassyFarm protocol, would be visualized in the landing page using an intuitive traffic-light system (red, yellow, or green, respectively), and providing additional information upon request. Our method allowed the creation of a prototype that would allow consumers to retrieve information concerning the product of animal origin they are going to buy. The prototype was meant to be intuitive and easy to understand also for those having no previous knowledge about animal production or animal welfare. This case-study could represent a first step towards using blockchain technology for animal welfare certification, fostering a direct information exchange between producers and consumers, thus enhancing the growth of new, diversified markets based on trust and transparency. A foreseeable weakness would be the need to feed the system with very heterogeneous data, originating from different data acquisition systems that are not always fit with automation. This issue could be overcome over the next years thanks to the progressive implementation of the integrated ClassyFarm system.
Giuliano Grasso, Gerardo Gabriele Volpone, Giovanna Martelli, Luca Sardi, Eleonora Nannoni
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/833413
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