Animal health, animal welfare

Animal health and animal welfare, as well as biodiversity are also important to FrieslandCampina. That is why we aim for cows that live longer and purchase soy that is certified in conformity with the RTRS (Round Table Responsible Soy) or similar criteria.

Improvement of animal health and animal welfare and lengthening the lives of the animals are important aspects of the Foqus planet programme. Healthy, well looked after cows live longer, need less medication and have a more efficient milk production.

Demands for member dairy farmers

Various demands are made on the member dairy farmers concerning animal health and animal welfare. Examples of this are cooperation with a licensed bovine veterinarian, monitoring of the animal welfare status and an animal health check. The member dairy farmers can make use of the following tools to guarantee the health of the animals:

  • The Periodic Farm Visit: four regular visits by a veterinarian per year;
  • The Continuous Animal Health Monitoring includes monitoring the animal health based on available figures concerning animal health and comparison with the national average. The data include dying of cows, dying of calves, health status for paratuberculosis, BVD and salmonella, new udder infections and cell count;
  • Koe-Kompas [cow compass]: a full analysis of the dairy farming sector which gives an overview of the strong points and areas of improvement in the dairy farming sector (feed, water, housing, animal welfare, etc.).

In the framework of the objectives of the Sustainable Dairy Chain, FrieslandCampina stimulates member dairy farmers to aim at lengthening the lives of the cows by six months in 2020 compared to 2011 (5 years, 8 months and 11 days). This will reported about in the Sustainable Dairy Chain Sector Report.

Biodiversity

Urbanisation, expanding industry and intensification of agriculture globally threaten biodiversity. This leads to disturbance and affects the resilience of ecosystems. Examples of this are loss of soil fertility, increase of the number of diseases and plagues and climatological effects. As relatively large landowner and as production factor with environmental impact, dairy farming affects biodiversity. FrieslandCampina wants to actively contribute to the preservation of biodiversity. Dairy farmers who actively commit themselves to the preservation of species, nature and landscape have been financially rewarded by earning development points in the sustainability section of Foqus planet since 2015.

In order to reduce the effect of the operation of dairy farms on biodiversity in the long term, FrieslandCampina is together with the Rabobank and the World Wildlife Fund working on a biodiversity monitoring system. This system provides individual dairy farmers insight into the impact their farms (pressure factors) have on the biodiversity. This makes biodiversity measurable. Examples of these pressure factors are loss of minerals, the intensity and the methods of land use, the use of water, the quality of the soil and the application of crop protection products. At the same time, this system proposes actual measures to dairy farmers for reducing the negative effect and increasing their positive contribution to biodiversity. With this FrieslandCampina is working on a sustainable method to preserve biodiversity.

Responsible use of antibiotics

Antibiotics globally make an important contribution in the treatment of bacterial infections in humans and animals. In order to help prevent antibiotic resistance, the Dutch animal sectors have made arrangements with the government about responsible use of antibiotics. Thanks to the efforts of the member dairy farmers and by better cooperation with other parties in the dairy chain, including veterinarians, the use of antibiotics at the dairy farms substantially decreased in the past few years. Antibiotics may only be used at dairy farms when prescribed by a veterinarian. This is reported in the Sustainable Dairy Chain Sector Report.

Sustainable soy

The member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina contribute to the sustainability of the cultivation of soy because the cattle feed (containing soy meal) which the member dairy farmers buy is of a sustainable origin. Arrangements have been made with the animal food industry that 100 percent of the soy in the concentrates for the cows is sustainable as from 2015. All purchased soy must be certified in conformity with the RTRS (Round Table Responsible Soy) or similar criteria. Member dairy farmers may only buy concentrates from cattle feed suppliers that comply with the GMP+-module and are therefore on the so-called white list. This ensures compliance of all soy in the feed of the cows with the RTRS criteria.