Fonterra updated it terms of supply to stop the practice of calf slaughtering on farms for non-replacement animals unless there are humane reasons for doing so.

From June 2023, male or non-dairy calves must be used for other purposes such as meat or pet food.

Fonterra co-op group is owned by around 9,000 New Zealand farmers and is responsible for approximately 30% of the world’s dairy exports – with revenue exceeding $22 billion.

Fonterra is the sixth-largest dairy company in the world and the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

Calf slaughtering

The slaughtering of male or bobby calves has been coming under scrutiny in New Zealand and globally – with Ireland having its own issues regarding the slaughtering of young calves.

In an update to Fonterra terms of supply, the co-op has told farmers that all calves must be reared to beef, calf-veal or pet food.

In a statement, Fonterra said: “We’re proud that Fonterra farmers are already world leaders when it comes to animal well-being.

“Consumers here in New Zealand and around the world are increasingly looking for more assurances around the quality of life experienced by the animals who produce their food.

“As part of our strategic choice to lead in sustainability, Fonterra places a strong emphasis on calf well-being and a big part of this is ensuring that all dairy calves have a useful life,” the statement continued.

“This is why we have introduced a new clause within the terms of supply which means calves can only be euthanised on-farm when there are humane reasons for doing so.”

From June 1, 2023, Fonterra farmers must ensure all their non-replacement calves enter a value stream – either beef, calf-veal or petfood.

“We understand sale options in parts of New Zealand are currently limited, which is why we’re actively collaborating with the wider industry, investing in R&D [research and development] and exploring long-term solutions such as dairy-beef partnerships and opportunities,” the co-op concluded.