Tuesday, 16 June 2015 15:47

Canadian dairy giant gets tough on animal welfare

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 Canadian dairy giant has zero tolerance policy on dairy cow welfare. Canadian dairy giant has zero tolerance policy on dairy cow welfare.

Canadian dairy giant Saputo has announced a ‘zero tolerance policy’ on animal welfare and will refuse milk from farms showing evidence of animal cruelty.

Saputo, of Montreal, says the policy applies to all its operations in Canada, the United States, Australia and Argentina.  And with all the zeal of the newly converted, Saputo wants to see its policies made accessible to all dairy producers and participating professionals in the world.

Saputo says the implementation of the animal welfare policy follows its recent alliances with the University of Guelph in Canada and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the U.S.

“Through these initiatives, Saputo reinforces its commitment to bringing industry leaders and dairy farmers together to improve animal care,” it says.

Last year, Saputo briefly refused to accept milk from Chilliwack Cattle Co., British Columbia, after the animal welfare group Mercy for Animals (MFA) group produced video evidence of workers “kicking, punching, beating, and hitting cows in the face and body with chains, canes, metal pipes and rakes.”

Saputo demanded the introduction of animal welfare practices before the milk flow resumed.  The new policy has MFA cheering.

“MFA praises Saputo for working toward ending some of the cruelest practices in its global dairy supply chain, such as tail docking and dehorning without painkillers, as well as curbing malicious animal abuse,” the group now says.

MFA says Nestlé, Leprino Foods, and Great Lakes Cheese, three of the largest dairy companies in the world, also recently announced similar animal welfare requirements after hidden-camera footage by MFA revealed horrific animal abuse.

“With Saputo’s announcement, the days are numbered for dairy factory farms that beat and drag cows, and mutilate them without painkillers.

“It’s now time for Dean Foods, Land O’Lakes, and other mega dairy companies to stop dragging their feet and implement meaningful animal welfare standards of their own.”

The new Saputo animal welfare policy invokes core principles and scientific evidence. It was developed with customers, dairy producers, veterinarians, governmental authorities, universities and other industry stakeholders.

The key elements include zero tolerance for any act of animal cruelty, eliminating tail docking in dairy cattle, and ensuring a minimum industry standard for pain control when dehorning or disbudding cattle.

Saputo is in the top 10 dairy processors in the world, is the largest in Canada, third in Argentina and fourth in Australia. In the US it is one of the top three cheese producers. It sells products in 40 countries. 

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