Fonterra is a global dairy nutrition company owned by 10,000 farmers and their families. Read about our company and about our farmers and markets.

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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 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 improving animal health and welfare outcomes as well as eliminating practices that contravene the internationally recognised “Five Freedoms”.

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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.
End of The five freedoms: Accordion Item

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.

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Farmers talk about their cows

We believe that cared for cows produce better quality milk. Milk we're proud to feed to our own families and the world.

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