29 Jan 2016

Fonterra receives low ranking for animal welfare

3:15 pm on 29 January 2016

Dairy giant Fonterra has received a low rating for animal welfare standards and reporting in an international study.

Organic Jersey cow and calf on a Rongotea farm.

Animal welfare concerns for the dairy industry include the use of antibiotics, humane slaughter, long-distance transport of animals and calf management. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

It is the first time the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare report has included the dairy co-operative as one of 90 companies it reviews annually.

Fonterra has been ranked at tier four, with one being the highest performing, and is behind global groups such as Marks and Spencer, McDonalds, Sainsbury and Unilever.

World Animal Protection regional agricultural director Rob Gregory said the ranking indicated Fonterra was making progress in putting in place farm animal welfare processes and procedures.

"It's not surprising that Fonterra has appeared in tier four for its first ranking, but it would have been nice for it to have had a higher score."

Mr Gregory said Fonterra needed to detail more of its work on specific animal welfare issues.

"It's really a question of developing policies and having positions in place for things like the use of antibiotics, humane slaughter, long-distance transport of animals and calf management."

Fonterra needed to be able to show that it took action when issues arose, he said.

The business benchmark was created to encourage companies to increase their reporting on animal welfare.

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