In the Unadilla Valley in Upstate New York and in the Magic Valley in Southern Idaho where we make our yogurt, most dairying is done a few hundred yards from the family home.
Early mornings and late nights give way to a whole lot of fresh milk, which we use to make our wholesome, nutritious, delicious Greek Yogurt.
Dairy farmers live and breathe their farm and—like them—we’ve always viewed animal welfare as more than a business practice: it’s an ethical and moral imperative.
There’s a common language about “good dairying” in deep farming cultures, and it’s one we’ve shared with our farmers since day one. You know it when you see it and programs like National Dairy FARM Program have helped bring that language to life. At the end of the day, the quality and sustainability of our products depends on the health and well-being of the animals on the farm.
Every farm—just like every food company—is different, and we saw an opportunity to work more closely with dairy farmers, cooperatives, milk processors, organizations and our fans across the country to participate in the important conversations taking place around this topic.
That starts with expressing more formally and comprehensively our beliefs—something we envision will continue to evolve in connection with our sustainability programs underway.
WE BELIEVE IN STRIVING FOR THE GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED “FIVE FREEDOMS” OF ANIMAL WELFARE SPECIFICALLY …
Freedom from hunger and thirst – with plenty of food and fresh water.
Freedom from discomfort – with good shelter and a nice place to rest.
Freedom from pain, injury or disease – with proper veterinary care and compassionate husbandry.
Freedom to express normal behavior – or the freedom for cows to be cows, with the right space and good company.
Freedom from fear or distress – by providing the right conditions and care from good people.
WE BELIEVE GROWTH SHOULD BE NATURAL.
We believe that cows should be spared the use of artificial growth hormones, which is why—since we first bought milk from local farmers in Upstate New York—we’ve used milk from cows not treated with rBST.
WE BELIEVE IN EXPLORING NEW APPROACHES.
Chobani supports the Farmer's Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) animal welfare program. All farms supplying milk to Chobani must participate in the program. FARM encourages continuous improvement and use of best management practices, such as the prohibition of tail docking (effective Jan.1, 2017), and dehorning before 8 weeks of age with effective pain management protocol developed in conjunction with the herd veterinarian.
We, like many farmers across the country, believe that new approaches can eliminate practices that cause concern. As these approaches are explored—such as selective breeding programs for hornless cattle—it’s important that the right economic models ensure that they are implemented sustainably, and that people with expertise in this area set the timelines. At the end of the day, we’re neither cattle breeders nor dairy farmers. We’re food makers.
WE BELIEVE IN IMPROVING THE COW’S COMFORT.
We stand by farms that go above and beyond in improving and supporting the comfort of the cows that provide us with fresh milk. Farms in New York and Idaho are leading examples of the ways in which modern practices can provide tremendous benefits to their herds—practices like soakers and fans for the summer months and heaters in the winter; regular visits from nutritionists and veterinarians; freshly made, dry beds and the absence of standing water.
We encourage farms to provide their herds access to pasture and ask farms that utilize indoor environments to ensure their areas are clean and spacious, with enough room for every cow to rest comfortably at the same time.
WE BELIEVE IN UPHOLDING TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY IN DAIRYING.
Transparency and trust are core values upon which we were founded. Therefore, we have, and continue, to oppose legislation that has the potential to limit the perception of transparency on the farm, including bills in several states known as “ag-security.” That said, it is important that each farm is granted due process when issues of animal welfare are raised—something for which we’ll continue to advocate across the industry and in the states in which we operate to ensure farmers are afforded basic rights that protect their herds and their land.