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Animal health and welfare

As the third global milk collector, we pay particular attention to all the animals in our supply chain, particularly the five million that supply the milk we process (cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats). We have a responsibility to them and recognize them as sentient beings. There is also a close link between their welfare and the quality of milk. Contributing to animal welfare makes it possible to improve our partner farmers’ performances and meet the expectations of our consumers and citizens.


  • 100 % of our dairy technicians will be animal welfare trained by 2023.

  • 100 % of our direct milk volumes will be assessed onsite for animal welfare by 2025 (by 2026 in Brazil).

  • Eradication of routine tail docking by 2022 and routine dehorning by 2025.

Present in 52 countries, we collect milk in 49 countries from very different farming systems. We have developed an approach to animal welfare that is both credible at international level and relevant at local level. Firstly, the ‘five freedoms’ are widely recognized (led by the World Organisation for Animal Health – WOAH). We then prioritize a scientific approach heavily based on Welfare Quality® protocols (which define animal welfare assessment procedures) and the expertise of the Welfare Quality Network, of which we became an associate member in 2021. Finally, as national charters are often already in place, we draw on them where possible.

In 2021, we carried out an extensive review of 700 pilot farms across 9 countries, representing around 50% of our global milk collection (22 billion litres). The sampling methodology used to select the pilot farms was defined with our partner Wageningen University & Research for extrapolation of the data. We then shared the results with renowned NGOs and our internal experts to establish the Lactalis Group’s Animal Welfare Policy: zero tolerance of cruelty to animals, development of a continuous improvement initiative with our farmers and dairy technicians and the annual publication of our progress. Country by country, our teams are encouraged to go further than the Group policy if the local maturity allows.