Cows are the heart of every dairy farm, and their health and welfare are of paramount importance to us.

We know there is a close relationship between well-cared for cows and good milk production which is why animal husbandry is a source of pride for every farmer.

Caring for animals - our approach

We work with our farmers to meet globally recognised standards as set by the World Organisation for Animal Health, and eliminate practices that contravene the Five Freedoms.

We are committed to managing animals responsibly and continuously improving animal health and welfare outcomes, as well as eliminating practices that contravene the internationally recognised “Five Freedoms”.

The five freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger or 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 comfortable resting area;

  • Freedom from pain, injury or 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; and

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

Our responsibility to animal welfare extends to wherever we operate in the world and we are committed to ensuring that good welfare outcomes are consistently delivered by all dairy farmers that supply us with milk.

We share our knowledge of best practice with other countries and assess the welfare of animals as part of our on-going quality assessments in all markets.

We exert our influence on our supply chain to deliver continuous improvement and ultimately, if farmers don’t meet our minimum requirements, they can’t supply milk to us.

Our commitments

1. Adopt good management practice across the supply chain

Partner with our milk and dairy ingredients suppliers to support the adoption of good management practices to continuously improve animal health and welfare and biosecurity outcomes, including the elimination of practices that contravene the Five Freedoms.

2. Improve stakeholder understanding

Work with stakeholders to increase understanding of animal welfare in a dairy context.

3. Advocate for robust standards and regulation

Collaborate with governments, international organisations, industry and other key stakeholders to achieve robust animal welfare and biosecurity regulations, standards and systems that are aligned. 

4. Be active in innovative solutions

Initiate or participate in programmes to advance animal health and welfare practices and supporting technology.

5. Be prepared for incidence response

Design and implement response and escalation protocols to ensure we are prepared and can manage pests and disease outbreaks.