Animal welfare

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

 

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

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 which is why animal husbandry is a source of pride for every farmer.

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

In the regions that form Fonterra’s international milk pool, we build on existing animal welfare legislation and work with industry bodies to deliver outcomes consistent with our animal welfare policies and standards.  Our standards are aligned with the international welfare standards developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health - OIE.

Our welfare policies and standards are approved by the Fonterra Board and the Senior Management Team.

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

As an example in New Zealand which forms our largest milk pool, we work closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and industry organisations on the development and implementation of animal welfare legislation to ensure high welfare standards reflecting best international practise are set, communicated, and implemented across our farmer supply base.  Supporting effective delivery New Zealand has an early animal welfare response system set up with the Ministry for Primary Industries and DairyNZ to protect the animals. This system allows anyone to report animal welfare issues of concern for investigation and provision of assistance where needed. This is supported by New Zealand’s  world leading legislation, visit MPI to learn more.

Fonterra suppliers in New Zealand and Australia are members and funders of the industry good organisations DairyNZ and Dairy Australia. We work with these organisations to provide very extensive animal welfare advice,  training and support material to our farmers. This can be found at;

Dairy NZ

Dairy Australia

Our farmers are required to comply with this legislation within the Terms and Conditions of Supply The Animal Protection Index, which ranks 50 countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria, and Switzerland) in the first place.

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Animal welfare early response programme.

Healthy herds are essential to dairy productivity and we take the health and welfare of animals seriously:

  • When farmers require extra support, Fonterra engages trained Dairy New Zealand animal husbandry extension specialists and rural professionals to assist farmers through challenges that they may be facing with regard to animal welfare on farm.
  • While there are very few farms that come into this model, we find that most of those that do, have successful outcomes.
  • Fonterra seeks to provide the best support possible to its farmer suppliers around challenges that they may face.

85%

Of the makeup of our cow’s diet is either grass, silage, hay or forage crops.
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