The largest part of the Fortuna family are our 13,500 cows. There’s not a bad one amongst the entire lot of them. Well, there’s a few trouble makers but we look after them too.
We talk about the cows as being part of our family because that’s how we like to treat them. Animal welfare is critical. Those three words we use a lot (happy, healthy and thriving) apply to the cows as much as the CEO.
One of the things we’ve done is to adopt the 5 domains for modern animal welfare practice. The 5 Domains Model was developed in New Zealand and provides a greater focus on the mental state of an animal (how the animal 'feels') and acknowledges the welfare can be both positive and negative. The 5 Domains are:
- Mental State
We know our animals but we also like to get the experts' view. So we bring in leading Veterinarians to help guide us. This isn’t about just treating our cows when something happens though. It’s about making sure they’re looked after so they don’t need treatment. Less of the Doctor and more of the Personal Trainer & Fitness Coach approach, if that makes sense.
All of our farms are signed up to Welfarm. It’s an assurance programme developed by expert veterinarians who specialise in helping dairy farmers and their cows. It means we understand the animal health markers in our herd and can build up a holistic health picture for our team in the paddocks. It taps into information, learnings and best practices from over 100,000 cows on more than over 180 farms throughout the country.
The information all builds into our planning. Staff are trained, best practices enforced and the cows are looked after. We want them to be happy, healthy and thriving.