16 Mar 2015

New Zealand dairy herd happy and healthy

10:00 am on 16 March 2015

New Zealand dairy cows may be among the happiest and healthiest in the world.

A one-week study to assess the quality of care provided to the cows that supply Fonterra's milk products has left Martin Cooke, of international non-profit organisation World Animal Protection, with a positive impression of New Zealand dairy farming.

Cow just out of Feilding; Farming; rural

A cow on a farm just out of Feilding. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Cooke said the organisation would be reporting back to global food giant Nestle on whether Fonterra was meeting international standards covering the care of animals.

He said the work in this country was part of a global programme run by Nestle.

"My impression of New Zealand dairying is very good actually, it's really nice to see cows on pasture based systems that look very healthy and happy," he said.

Mr Cooke said in some countries cows would never go onto grass at all, but New Zealand was one of two countries, alongside Ireland, where cows could be out in the paddocks all year round.

A random cross section of 15 large and small North Island dairy farms were involved in the study.

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