Healthy, well cared-for animals are vital to producing safe, high-quality milk

While it may sound simple, cows are the absolute core of every dairy farm, and their health and welfare is of paramount importance to us. We know there is a close relationship between well-cared for cows and good milk production. This is why animal husbandry is a source of pride for every farmer. We are committed to manage animals responsibly and to continuously improve animal health and welfare outcomes for our cows

Our policy

We regularly review our policy on animal health and welfare.

Fonterra Five Freedoms

To manage animals responsibly we will support our milk and dairy ingredient suppliers to meet globally recognised standards and eliminate practices that contravene the Five Freedoms

Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.

Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

Freedom from pain, injury and disease by ensuring rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Freedom to express normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of the animal’s own kind.

Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid physical and mental suffering.

To ensure compliance with codes of welfare or other regulations where they are published by the legislator in the country of operation

To support and manage adherence to this policy we partner with regulatory and industry bodies, veterinarians and rural professionals.

The responsibility for management of farm animal welfare in Fonterra on a global basis is assigned to Fonterra’s General Manager – Veterinary, Technical and Risk Management. Management and implementation of Fonterra’s animal welfare policies and strategies is undertaken by the in-house veterinary team nationally and internationally. Fonterra develops and implements processes across its business to assess and report compliance with policy, including audit at appropriate intervals.

We provide regular communication and supporting material (e.g. a Dairy Diary, Supplier Handbook and fact sheets) to our farmers and we perform farm assessments to gather information.


To adopt good management practice on farm

We partner with our farmers to support the adoption of good management practices to continuously improve animal health and welfare outcomes.

Our responsibility to animal welfare extends to wherever we operate in the world.

Animal health and welfare

Check out this video and information below about the various ways we deliver on our commitments.

Our programmes, activities and processes

Supply Fonterra

The Supply Fonterra Programme has been developed to assist and support farmers on the continuous improvement journey of sustainable milk production. It brings together current and new milk quality and environmental management programmes while providing a platform to address new priorities that emerge from market and regulators.

Welfare codes and regulations

We require all our suppliers to comply fully with the latest codes of welfare that apply to them.

We update our suppliers regularly about changes to code of welfare and new regulations.

Fonterra Animal Care

Animal care practices

Good animal care is achieved through a combination of compliance with regulations and Codes of Welfare and the increasing adoption of best practice. Best practice is supported by Fonterra and other industry bodies.

Fonterra Mastitis Support Programme

Mastitis support programme

The Mastitis Support programme provides support to our farmers by engaging accredited veterinarians to identify, prevent and manage the cause of mastitis in our suppliers’ herds.

Fonterra Animal Welfare Early Response Programme

Animal welfare early response programme

When farmers require extra support, Fonterra engages trained Dairy New Zealand animal husbandry extension specialists and rural professionals to assist.

Fonterra Cared for Calves

Bobby calves must be treated with care and respect

Fonterra Cared for Cows

We believe that cared for cows produce better quality milk

Organic Dairy Quality Certification

Fonterra requires that all organic farmers meet the Organic Dairy Quality Certification programme. This programme includes requirements for the management of the health and welfare of the animals contributing to supply. The programme is subject to routine independent audit by the organic certifying organisations.

2017 Fonterra Co-operative Group