Fonterra has announced that bull calves and other non-replacement calves cannot be slaughtered on farms unless there is a humane reason for doing so.
A new clause in its terms of supply for New Zealand dairy farmers states that suppliers “must ensure all their non-replacement calves enter a value stream - either beef, calf-veal or pet food”.
The change will come into effect on 1 June 2023, at the start of the New Zealand dairy calendar.
Fonterra has said that it understands that sale options for these calves in parts of New Zealand are currently limited and that it is collaborating with the wider industry on options for farmers.
It also said it is investing in research and development and exploring long-term solutions, such as dairy-beef partnerships and opportunities.
“We’re proud that Fonterra farmers are already world leaders when it comes to animal wellbeing.
“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 wellbeing and a big part of this is ensuring that all dairy calves have a useful life,” it said.
Around four million calves are born on New Zealand dairy farms each year, two million of which are bull calves.