What We Believe

Animal Welfare

Ensuring that the animals who provide fairlife dairy products are cared for and cared about is a top priority for fairlife. It is our ethical responsibility and mission to work with our supplying farmers and our Animal Welfare Advisory Council to explore, innovate, and implement animal welfare practices that both allow cows to have a quality of life where their physical, mental, and behavioral well-being are accommodated and reflect our customers’ expectations of responsible farming, strong governance, and transparency.

Our commitment to animal welfare is a key part of our pledge to provide you and your family with safe, highly nutritious products. This is a commitment that we share with our supplying farm partners. We understand that providing cows with great nutrition, along with maintaining clean, safe, comfortable environments, is not only important to their overall well-being, but leads to great-tasting, high-quality milk.

Our holistic approach to animal welfare has four parts:

CONTINUOUSLY INVESTING IN ANIMAL WELFARE LEADERSHIP

STRONG
FARMER
PARTNERSHIPS

OUR ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS

ONGOING
GOVERNANCE

CONTINUOUSLY INVESTING IN ANIMAL WELFARE LEADERSHIP

We’re committed to learning and leading. That’s why we’ve established the fairlife Animal Welfare Advisory Council, an independent council that will consist of nationally and internationally recognized experts in animal welfare. This council, in collaboration with our supplying farmers and other industry leaders, makes sure that our standards are grounded in the latest scientific research, ultimately resulting in exploring innovative animal welfare solutions. In addition, we’re making significant investments in collaboration with our farmer partners to enable the implementation of our evolving approaches to animal care.

Continuously Investing in Animal Welfare Leadership

 

Leadership Investment – fairlife is investing in additional leadership roles to oversee our animal welfare program and partner with our supplying farms to bring our vision to life. We’re currently recruiting for a newly created Vice President of Animal Welfare position, with a hire expected in early 2020.

Advisory Council – We’re convening an external team of leading, independent advisors to help fairlife chart its course and continuously challenge our thinking on animal welfare. We’re selecting our advisors to provide a wide breadth of relevant expertise on animal health, behavior and welfare science, bioethics, nutrition, and management. In addition to academic expertise, several have direct experience working within the dairy industry in areas such as on-farm animal husbandry and management and provision of veterinary service on-farm. We’re retaining our external advisors to inform us of cutting edge scientific, technological, and ethical developments that are critical to shaping our discussions and decisions about our suppliers’ animal care practices and the leadership role we have in sustainable dairy production.

Employee, Partner and Consumer Feedback – We recognize the importance of having a continuing dialogue around animal agriculture, as it’s through working together that we can provide solutions to the challenge of providing great nutrition to a growing global population. We welcome all questions, concerns, and ideas, which you can submit to [email protected].

STRONG FARMER PARTNERSHIPS

We partner with like-minded farmers who are mutually committed to our belief and compassion for continuously improving animal welfare and worker engagement. It takes an investment to develop, innovate, and improve upon all areas of our animal welfare program. As a reflection of our mutual commitment, we support and encourage our supplying farmers by compensating them for their innovative approaches to continuous animal welfare improvement.

Strong Farmer Partnerships

 

Farm Culture – A major determinant of animal welfare outcomes is the attitude of animal caretakers and farm managers to animals. For people to show care and compassion for animals requires commitment to their own care and dignity. fairlife and its supplying farms are therefore prioritizing caretaker education that emphasizes the understanding that cows and calves are sentient animals deserving of compassion and respect. All farm staff have a collective responsibility to promote and protect the well-being of each team member so that a culture is created that upholds the values of care and compassion for animals and people.

Training – All supplying farms have regularly scheduled training for those who work with animals, as outlined and defined by the FARM Animal Care Program.

Monitoring and Oversight – All supplying farms have committed to having cameras installed by March 1, 2020. When used ethically, cameras not only provide monitoring and oversight but can be used to enhance employee feedback, training, and on-farm culture.

Hotline – We require that all supplying farms provide access to a 24/7 anonymous hotline to report concerns of animal abuse, violations of animal well-being, or disregard for worker policies and programs.

OUR ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS

Animals need and deserve more than the bare essentials, which is why we and our farming partners are working to create policies and robust animal care standards that reinforce these values. Our leadership team is working closely with the fairlife Animal Welfare Advisory Council to maintain comprehensive animal welfare standards.

Our Animal Welfare Standards

 

Animal Well-Being – Our partner farmers are committed to the well-being of their cows. Each farm has veterinarian oversight to provide frequent wellness checks to ensure the overall health and wellness of the animals.

Housing – All farms that supply to fairlife must offer cows and calves housing environments that are designed to keep the animals clean, safe, and comfortable. Cow and calf housing must be regularly monitored to ensure thermal comfort of the animals. In keeping with current science and public expectations, we’ll encourage and incentivize all supplying farms to pursue innovation that further ensures general animal comfort.

Humane Handling – fairlife recognizes that dairy cattle should be handled with patience, care, and compassion to minimize unpleasant mental states such as fear and distress, maximize their comfort, and ensure their physical safety as well as that of their handlers. We require our suppliers to ensure that animal caretakers are trained in low-stress cow and calf handling. Supplying farms should utilize handling facilities, equipment, and procedures that reduce stress to the cattle, and they should monitor the animals consistently during handling to better protect the physical safety of animals.

Transportation – Working together with our supplying farms, fairlife has created specific standards that define transportation responsibility. Supplying farms are directly responsible for arranging for safe transportation both on and off their farms, irrespective of animal ownership.

Pain Mitigation – fairlife is committed to improving pain detection, identifying routine practices that cause pain to cows and calves, and finding alternatives to avoid or mitigate pain.

ZERO Tolerance – All farms that supply milk to fairlife have committed to ZERO TOLERANCE of animal abuse. It’s our policy that all supplying farm employees must sign this commitment as part of their required training and continuously live by it. Violation of this policy results in termination of any employee who has abused an animal on one occasion and, if appropriate, referral to law enforcement for further investigation.

ONGOING GOVERNANCE

Audits alone cannot ensure animal welfare. More critical is the need to drive a strong culture that consistently and continuously enables the care and well-being of animals 24-7. With that said, well-planned auditing processes of our farms, conducted independently and routinely, reinforce our commitment to our standards of daily on-farm animal care and continuous improvement.

Every farm in our supply chain is subject to regular third-party unannounced audits. Issues identified during audits will be acted upon with urgency, to ensure that any undesirable actions or behaviors are addressed swiftly and appropriately.

Ongoing Governance

 

100% of our supplying dairy farms have been recently audited by three different independent auditors. During these audits, the cows were found to be in general good health and condition, and there were no reported incidents of animal abuse or cruelty. Of the opportunities for improvement and correction identified, 95% were corrected and verified through follow-up audits. This kind of prompt resolution by our farmers is in line with our collective commitment to continuously improve our standards and everyday practices.