What is ELVI?

Animal welfare is an essential aspect of the responsibility and sustainability of animal production and a necessity when using animal-based products. Animal welfare is a complex issue. Evaluation of animal welfare should not be based on the assessment of single welfare-related aspects such as production parameters or health alone.

Improvement of animal welfare in livestock farms should be based on a model of continuous improvement. What can be measured, can be improved. Therefore, the animal welfare label should be based on a system that allows farms to develop individually and, in a solution-oriented way.

ELVI animal welfare label includes the scientifically robust WelfareQuality-system, which measures the overall welfare of animals. The protocol provides farms with individualised information regarding animal welfare improvement needs and verifies welfare from the animal itself, using animal-based indicators. Farms must reach first or second highest grade in WQ-audit. In addition, farms under the ELVI contract are engaged in national preventive animal healthcare systems. The ELVI label also includes additional requirements for animal husbandry. The aim of these requirements is to promote and verify animal welfare in the Finnish food sector in a reliable and verifiable manner. The ELVI criteria are strict. At the launch stage, for example, approximately 17% of Finnish dairy farms meet the label’s requirements.

ELVI requirements for dairy farms

Difference between animal- and resource-based measurements of welfare

Resource-based indicator
The level of animal welfare is determined by the presence or absence of a resource.

For example, a cow’s lying comfort is determined by measuring the width and length of the lying space.

Animal-based indicator
Evaluates the impact of a given resource on an animal.

Cow’s lying comfort and thus the suitability of a cow’s lying area is determined by observing any skin damage caused by the lying area, ease of movement when lying down and standing up, and the cow's ability to comfortably fit into the allocated lying area.

The independence of the ELVI label guarantees its reliability

Independence is important for the ELVI label because it guarantees its reliability. Independence is confirmed, inter alia, by the following measures.

The ELVI label is supervised by Finwelfare Ltd, whose board of directors is composed exclusively of animal welfare experts who do not benefit financially from the company. Furthermore, the operational staff are not paid by the companyand their income is based on other sources. This ensures that neither board members nor operational staff have a financial interest influencing their decisions which could jeopardise the credibility of the label or possibly even have a negative impact on animal welfare. Neither does the industry, such as slaughterhouses, have a say in the decisions taken.

It is important for the ELVI label that the verification of animal welfare is not compromised by a possibility of the key personnel having personal financial interests affecting the decision-making process, but that decisions are taken purely from an animal welfare perspective.

The costs of maintaining the ELVI label are covered by the fees for using the label and the auditing fees, which are not linked to sales growth of ELVI-labelled products. This ensures that Finwelfare Ltd does not benefit from the sales promotion of ELVI-labelled products.

Like other certification bodies, Finwelfare Ltd invoices its clients for its work on the ELVI label. Notably, Finwelfare Ltd has no customer relationship with the farms being audited.This ensures that the ELVI certification and auditing process is objective and independent, without excessive ties to the subjects being audited.

Our sustainability strategy includes both the pursuit of accreditation and Social Enterprise status, which reinforces our commitment to a high-quality certification process and independence. The story of Finwelfare Ltd and the ELVI label is just beginning, and we will continue to work towards developing independent and accountable activities now and in the future.

For the animal welfare label, independence is a key factor in its reliability. An expert board of directors, financial independence, and a clear cost structure ensure that the label remains true to its commitment to advancing animal welfare. This gives consumers confidence that an ELVI-labelled product truly does meet high animal welfare standards.


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