Mans hand patting cow carefully on the nose

Animal Welfare

25 June 2020
Sustainable Story

The commitment of Irish farmers to the animals in their care and our outdoor grass-based milk production system ensures that the health and welfare of animals in Irish dairy herds sets a leading standard internationally.

Good cow and calf management is part and parcel of progressive dairy farming practice, planning and economics. The first 12 weeks after a calf is born are crucial to its future production potential as well as the length of the animal’s productive life.

The proper management of newborn and young calves is also an essential component of the standards Glanbia Ireland sets for our producers.

We also employ our own in-house veterinarian team who have developed a Glanbia Ireland-specific herd health programme. Together with advisory and animal welfare programmes, this places the health and welfare of our animals at the forefront.

Our in-house veterinary and technical advisory teams have drawn together best practice guidelines to assist suppliers in achieving the highest standards of animal husbandry. In addition, our Milk Purchasing Policy sets out the high standards suppliers must follow, including a breeding policy that ensures calves which are not required as dairy herd replacements can have a purposeful, productive and economically sustainable life.

There are also a strict series of requirements set out in Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) programme, under which all milk suppliers must be approved to supply milk to our facilities.

Our farmers share deep bonds with their herds, with sustainability and animal welfare always a top priority. Our farms are Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW (A Greener World, AWA), an independent non-profit farm-certification programme. Itguarantees that animals are raised outdoors on pasture on independent farms their entire lives, using truly sustainable, high-welfare farming practices.

Five Freedoms

The five freedoms that underpin best practice to ensure animal health and welfare at farm level are set out by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council. See

1.            Freedom from hunger and thirst.

2.            Freedom from discomfort.

3.            Freedom from pain, injury and disease.

4.            Freedom to express normal behaviour.

5.            Freedom from fear and distress.