Our Woolworths Group Sustainability Plan 2025 enables us  to create a better tomorrow. This plan covers our 5 guiding principles and shows how we turn these into specific goals and detailed commitments that we aim to achieve by 2025. 

To turn guiding principles into action, we’ve broken them down into three distinct focus areas: People, Planet and Product. Animal Welfare is covered under the Product focus area, Goal 4: Lead the future of protein. Our animal welfare strategy and policy are underpinned by our core values “I care deeply” and “I always do the right thing”.

Animal welfare is incredibly important to Woolworths, our suppliers, and our customers. We are committed to improving the lives of animals within our supply chains.

Woolworths Group has adopted the Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s (FAWC 2009) ‘Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare’. These freedoms are the framework that guides the development of Woolworths Group policies and procedures for animal welfare. We regularly review our animal welfare policies and procedures against the latest science to drive continual improvement for the welfare of the animals in our supply chains.


Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare

Freedom Provision
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst By providing ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain health and vigour
2. Freedom from discomfort By providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease Through prevention, rapid diagnosis, and treatment
4. Freedom to express normal behaviour By providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and the company of the animals' own kind
5. Freedom from fear and distress By ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

Woolworths Group recognises that animals are sentient beings and should experience positive health and wellbeing. Together with our suppliers, we are working on going beyond the five freedoms towards providing animals with a good life.  This is why we also recognise the five domains of animal welfare and use these  to help us work on providing the animals within our supply chains the opportunity to experience positive emotions such as pleasure, excitement and relaxation. By providing species-specific enrichment we allow animals to display the positive behaviours that support these emotions. For example, the provision of pecking objects for our chickens allows them to exhibit natural foraging behaviour. For more information, please see the enrichment section.

The Five Animal Welfare Domains ¹

Domains Animal Welfare Aims
Good nutrition: provide ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full and vigour Minimise thirst and hunger and enable eating to be a pleasurable experience
Good environment: Provide shade/shelter or suitable housing, good air quality and comfortable resting areas Minimise discomfort and exposure and promote thermal, physical and other comforts
Good health: Prevent or rapidly diagnose and treat disease and injury, and foster good muscle tone, posture and cardiorespiratory function Minimise breathlessness, nausea pain and other aversive experiences and promote the pleasures of robustness, vigour, strength and well-coordinated physical activity
Appropriate behaviour: Provide sufficient space, proper facilities, congenial company and appropriately varies conditions Minimise threats and unpleasant restrictions on behaviour and promote engagement in rewarding activities
Positive mental experiences: Provide safe, congenial and species-appropriate opportunities to have pleasurable experiences Promote various forms of comfort, pleasure, interest, confidence and a sense of control

1 Mellor, D.J. (2016). Updating animal welfare thinking: Moving beyond the ‘Five Freedoms’ towards ‘A Life Worth Living’. Animals 6, 21

We work in collaboration with the agricultural industry across the different protein areas we source from and align where possible. In addition to this, we consult with veterinarians, academics, government representatives, training providers, The RSPCA, World Animal Protection, and Compassion in World Farming.  We are working with FAI Farms Limited, global independent animal welfare and sustainability consultants to help us on the journey of improving our animal welfare metrics.


Woolworths Group Animal Welfare - Governance, Implementation and Management

Woolworths Group consists of:

  • Woolworths Supermarkets Australia and Woolworth New Zealand, primarily fresh and long-life food retailers which also retails household, health and beauty, pet, and baby products. 

  • BIG W, retails mostly apparel, homeware, personal care, and electrical goods.  BIG W does not have any fresh food offerings or animal products in Own Brand products except for pet food and confectionery.

Each business has specific requirements concerning the geographical location of the business, and its supply chains as outlined in the Animal Welfare Policy, which can be found on our landing page.  

Woolworths Own Brand

Products are considered Own Brand when Woolworths Group Limited serves as the Brand Owner. As such, these products must meet the requirements set out in the brand guidelines and relevant policies during all new and existing product development. Compliance to these guidelines and policies are set out in the Own Brand Supply Agreement between Woolworths and the product manufacturer. An exemption must be requested in writing and approved by the Planet team where compliance to prescribed requirements cannot be met, with a time-bound action plan provided as to when compliance will be achieved. 

Non-Woolworths Brands

Any non-Woolworths brand products sold within Woolworths Group must meet our Woolworths terms of trading.  All farm animals reared in Australia and New Zealand must comply with their relevant national and state requirements for farm animal production. In New Zealand, all animal owners or people in charge of animals must meet the Animal Welfare Act, including meeting the MPI codes of animal welfare that apply to them. New Zealand processors and manufacturers of animal products also have MPI audited risk management plans in place. In Australia under the Australian Constitution, legislative responsibility for animal welfare rests primarily with state and territory governments who are responsible for animal production and welfare laws and their enforcement. The states and territories set and enforce animal welfare standards through administration of state legislation for animal welfare or the prevention of animal cruelty.  Our Woolworths Terms of Trade stipulate that all relevant legislation must be met.

Farmed animals for food and non-food

Within our food business, we aim for improved animal welfare standards across all farming systems – from breeding to rearing and through to slaughter. In markets where suppliers are working to legal requirements, we work with our supply chain partners to drive improvements in standards up the supply chain. Similarly, within our non-food business, we will only use animal products (e.g., feathers or leather), which are a by-product of the food industry. We prohibit the live plucking of feathers. We have an ambition to only sourcing from farms adhering to the same standards we set for our food business.      


Our animal welfare commitments are underpinned by our animal welfare policy and strategy. The Sustainability Committee of the Board of Woolworths Group Limited has a Charter which details the committee’s duties. Animal welfare is included under the Environment section.

The Sustainability Committee is responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of Woolworths Group’s Sustainability policies and initiatives, including animal welfare. Woolworths’ senior management has accountability for managing farm animal welfare as part of the governance of our sustainability program, through regular Sustainability Steering Committee meetings. We publicly report our progress on animal welfare annually in our Woolworths Group Sustainability Report. We hold regular meetings with our senior team to review our progress across animal welfare in the protein space. 


We are committed to the health and welfare of the animals within our supply chain. We are working with our suppliers and farmers to drive improvement and influence best practice. Woolworth’s animal welfare standards cover all practices from animal rearing, health, welfare, feed, production systems, environment, stocking density, through to transport and slaughter. Our policies apply to all species used in our Own Brand products and are implemented through our Woolworths Supplier Excellence Audit program which covers all business units. The Supplier Excellence Audit program is a series of audits suppliers need to successfully complete based on a variety of Codes of Practice developed by Woolworths. This ensures the consistent supply of safe, ethical, quality and legally compliant products. All our Own Brand suppliers receive regular training around our standards. In addition, all abattoirs are independently audited by a third party to the relevant sector requirements detailed in our animal welfare policy. 


Woolworths’ Own Brand suppliers must adhere to our policies and procedures. Our Animal Welfare requirements are included in our product briefs and brand guidelines and form part of our contractual obligations with suppliers. In addition to this, all suppliers must be part of a third-party assurance scheme as well as being audited against Woolworths Codes of Practice within the Supplier Excellence Program.  These measures are reported through our internal audit programs to the Environment Team and the relevant commercial and technical teams. More details can be found below about the sector-specific requirements.


Day to day, animal welfare is managed by our Environment Team. Woolworths teams regularly assess and analyse to ensure compliance and track progress against our commitments. It is the responsibility of the Environment Team and relevant category team members to investigate and resolve any non-compliances and ensure these are closed out correctly and promptly. Appropriate action will be taken on suppliers who are not complying to our standards and expectations.  Actions taken could include enhanced auditing for consistent poor performers, or additional technical support or training.  In serious cases suppliers will be excluded from supply.

Assurance Schemes

Woolworths Group require that all our product has been sourced from farms that are part of a recognised farm assurance scheme.  These are detailed within our animal welfare policy and within this document.

Additional Animal Welfare Requirements for Suppliers

Data Recording of Welfare Metrics

Our suppliers must record progress against Welfare Outcome Measures (WOMs) and supply data as required (the frequency of data collection has been defined for each species). These outcomes help us identify animal welfare issues concerning physical, mental and behavioural wellbeing. This data is used to allow us to quantify our performance and measure continual improvement within our supply chains. We continue to capture this data, which is published and regularly updated.  Alongside this we provide further information on our performance and key trends. Some of the data metrics captured include injured animals, transport time, slips, trips, falls and vocalisation and dead-on arrival (DOA’s). The data metrics collected are species specific. In addition to this, we also collect data about our supply chains through supplier audits, on-site visits and regular supplier animal welfare questionnaires. 

Processing Site and Abattoirs Requirements 

All our processing plants for beef, lamb and pork must be independently certified annually by the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) as well as meeting our own Woolworths standards for our abattoirs which covers animal welfare across transport, lairage and slaughter. Both audits are conducted by an independent 3rd party certification body, results are reported to the Woolworths team including the Environment Team and Processing team and any non-conformances are actioned immediately by the supplier.

The AAWCS best practice standards cover all aspects of animal welfare, from receival of livestock at the establishment to the point of processing. The standard covers planning, procedures, facilities, equipment, training and livestock handling; including minimising stress and injuries all helping to prevent or mitigate risks to animal welfare.

All our poultry sites are audited annually to the RSPCA Approved standards.

In New Zealand all abattoirs are licensed and independently audited by the Ministry for Primary Industries.  

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

All Woolworths Group Poultry, Beef, Lamb, and Pork abattoirs must have CCTV in place within key animal handling processing areas. Woolworths can access this CCTV during audits and upon request. Any non-conformances will be reported to the Environment Team and Processing team for full investigation.

Animal Welfare Training

Woolworths Team Members

We see training our people as a crucial part of helping deliver our animal welfare commitments and requirements.  All those involved in handling live animals must be appropriately trained, including Woolworths staff.  Our suppliers and farmers must meet the training requirements within industry standards and meet any additional requirements within any independent standards which are applicable.  We have a bespoke Woolworths Animal Welfare training program in collaboration with AusMeat to the Woolworths and Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) standards.  To provide all our livestock, processing and sustainable sourcing team with practice, in person independent animal welfare training. 

The Environment Team provides training to team members in the animal welfare space. We hold regular training sessions around animal welfare for our team members concerning the overview of policy and commitments, changes in policy, and updating of standards.  In addition to this, job changers or new starters who are going to be working in the protein area will also have training in the requirements for that area. 

We provide content for our store team members who are involved in the selling of protein products around the sourcing criteria which includes the animal welfare standards so that they can communicate our progress and ambitions in improving farm animal welfare.

Supplier Support

We believe collaboration with our suppliers will help achieve the best outcomes. We actively engage with our supply base through on-site visits, training on our standards and training through our supplier platforms. Our Environment and procurement teams, including the livestock team, make regular visits to our farmers and suppliers. These visits support them on the implementation of our sourcing requirements including our animal welfare policy and procedures. Any issues on these visits regarding animal welfare will be raised to the Woolworths Environment Team as well as the senior team at the supplier. We regularly meet with suppliers to discuss and ensure they are either maintaining or working towards our prescribed standards and identifying opportunities where further support from Woolworths or its partners may be required. Woolworths also hosts a variety of supplier updates across the year where Quality, Commercial, and Sustainability teams update on progress and any new requirements. 

Our suppliers are all trained to our standards and sourcing requirements, there are regular training sessions held for our suppliers including animal welfare requirements and standards.

Woolworths also holds a Sustainable Supplier of the Year Award which recognises excellence in the areas of animal welfare, sustainability, and human rights. Previous winners of this award include Rivalea Australia who was recognised as Woolworths’ Sustainability Supplier of the Year for its high animal welfare standards and impressive carbon reduction innovations. Rivalea has partnered with Woolworths over the last 30 years, providing high quality pork from its farms across New South Wales and Victoria. Rivalea’s methane capture program is an example of best practice on-farm emissions reduction, delivering an environmental benefit equivalent to taking 9,000 cars off the road each year. The methane collected is converted to electricity which powers most of its largest farm and processing plant. 


Commitments and Target Setting Woolworths Australia

The following sections refer to animal welfare in Australia. For more information on animal welfare operations in New Zealand, refer to Countdown's website


Woolworths is committed to improving the lives of animals within our supply chains through increased data reporting and implementation of welfare outcome measures.  This improves transparency on welfare standards and practices within our supply chain, enables us to identify areas of best practice and improvement and to quantify our progress.  

Our current progress on our welfare commitments include:

  • All Woolworths Own Brand fresh chicken, fresh whole turkey and chicken used as an ingredient in Woolworths Own Brand products comes from RSPCA Approved farms (2)

  • All Woolworths Macro Free Range Chicken is RSPCA Approved Free Range 

  • All Woolworths Macro Brand Chicken and Turkey are certified organic or free range accredited. 

  • All Woolworths Own Brand shell eggs are cage free

  • All Woolworths pigs are free from artificially added hormones and growth enhancers

  • Our animal welfare outcome measures programme is embedded across our fresh protein supply chains

  • Launching our Woolworths Group-wide Animal Welfare Policy.

    2. Excludes pet food, gravy, and stocks. Our small number of imported canned and boxed chicken products are certified by independent foreign accreditations

2. Excludes pet food, gravy, and stocks. Our small number of imported canned and boxed chicken products are certified by independent foreign accreditation

Investing in our animal welfare commitments



To ensure we are continually improving we work with our suppliers and industry in research and development in animal welfare within our supply chains.  Including focusing on areas such as new production methods and technologies.

We regularly provide input into national standards and guideline reviews across the protein species through contributing to national policy reviews and inputting to government consultations to help improve animal welfare across Australia.  The team sit on several industry forums across the sectors including, the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Feedlot Benchmarking Steering Committee, contributing to the animal welfare requirements at feedlots.  Our own Woolworths sourcing policies, standards and requirements in relation to animal welfare go through independent review.

Dairy Innovation Fund 

The Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund commits $5 million over three years to deliver innovation grants to dairy farmers in our supply chain. The Dairy Fund will allow farmers to invest capital improvements which they may not have been able to afford and will help on-farm efficiency, improved infrastructure and equipment including continued benefits to animal welfare. This follows on from the success of the Woolworths Organic Fund which continues to support the growth of the organic sector by partnering with growers and providing them with grants and loans to further develop their businesses.

The Woolworths Animal Welfare Horizons Fund 

The purpose of our annual Animal Welfare Horizons Fund is to help support research and development that address welfare opportunities, challenges, projects, and initiatives. The fund assists our farmers and suppliers in tackling issues associated with animal welfare with the ultimate goal of having a positive effect on the animals within the supply chain.  The fund promotes the importance of animal welfare downstream of the supply chain, benefiting our farmers and their animals directly. To date we’ve funded five successful projects across our beef and pork supply chains. With projects looking at improving welfare metrics such as reducing lameness, improving cattle health and welfare and improved humane slaughter practices.

Partnerships and Collaboration 

We are working with FAI Farms Limited to ensure we continue to improve the lives of animals within our supply chains, FAI provides independent review, input and support to our animal welfare policies and procedures. 

We believe strong collaboration is the most effective approach in addressing the sustainability concerns surrounding beef production, and we are an active member of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ABSF) Consultative Committee. The framework defines sustainable beef production, and animal welfare forms part of their six key priorities. The ABSF allows Woolworths to engage with a variety of stakeholders to identify and protect high conservation value areas within our supply chains and work with suppliers, governments, producers and other corporate and NGO partners to achieve this.

As part of the ABSF’s Consultative Committee, Woolworths supports the annual performance review of several sustainability indicators including environmental stewardship. These indicators will help deliver the first national tree and grass cover measures for the beef industry.

Our Head of Environment sits on the steering group of the Australian Sheep Sustainability Framework (ASSF), which helps to drive improved sustainability metrics within the sheep meat and wool industries. 

Woolworths regularly attends the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework Consultative Forum inputting into the requirements.

Fresh Poultry 


Poultry and eggs are an important component of many of our customers' daily diets and the welfare of these birds need to be met at all times. 100% of the fresh poultry and eggs used in our Australian products are produced from farms regionally across Australia.  

Our suppliers are all trained in relevant sector-specific requirements e.g., RSPCA Approved or FREPA as well as meeting Woolworths’ Supplier Excellence Programme standards.

RSPCA Approved Chicken

100% of Woolworths Own Brand fresh chicken and visible ingredient chicken in Woolworths Own Brand products comes from higher welfare RSPCA Approved farms (3). The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme focuses on improving farm animal welfare. Farms that participate in the scheme are regularly assessed independently by the RSPCA and raise their animals to detailed animal welfare standards. These assessments ensure that Woolworths Chickens are farmed according to the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standard.  Birds and are provided with environmental enrichment, such as perches and pecking objects, good quality litter for dustbathing and are given more space to encourage them to be active and exhibit natural behaviours.  Any non-conformances with the Standard raised at an assessment will be closed out as soon as possible. Audit performance is discussed at regular meetings between RSPCA Australia, Woolworths and the supplier. This helps to identify any areas that require improvements in the next year.

3. Excludes pet food, gravy, and stocks. Our small number of imported canned and boxed chicken products are certified by independent foreign accreditation

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RSPCA Approved chicken farms focus on providing for the bird’s behavioural and physical needs. Meat chickens have good lighting which encourages them to be active during the day, whilst also having sufficient dark periods for rest. They have more space to move about, flap their wings, forage, and scratch. Perches are given so birds can perch to rest and keep their bones and muscles strong. Good quality litter is provided and managed so that birds can dustbathe and keep their feathers clean. These provisions, along with a combination of factors, provide meat chickens with a better quality of life.

We have recently introduced our Woolworths slow raised chicken reared to RSPCA Approved standards. More information can be found here

RSPCA Standards are publicly available to download here.

Our Woolworths Own Brand RSPCA Approved chicken is grown to:

  • 28kg per m2 stocking density for non-mechanically ventilated systems. 

  • 34kg per m2 stocking density for tunnel, extractive or other mechanically ventilated systems.

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All our products that contain RSPCA Approved chicken carry the RSPCA Approved certification.

“The RSPCA has been proud to work with Woolworths and their suppliers to ensure all their own brand fresh chicken is sourced from RSPCA Approved farms since 2014. Now all of Woolworths branded fresh chicken and the Australian chicken used as an ingredient in Woolworths branded products is 100% RSPCA Approved. A significant achievement that demonstrates the company’s recognition that improving animal welfare applies to products across their ranges, and not just the fresh produce category. RSPCA Australia looks forward to continuing our work with Woolworths, to improve the welfare of farm animals across their supply chains.” RSPCA Australia

We continue to work closely with the RSPCA and have generated a series of educational videos which are used as part of our Animal Welfare training but also used as part of our marketing of the RSPCA Approved products. Read the RSPCA’s blog RSPCA Approved chicken in Woolworths – and what’s it all about?

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RSPCA Approved Good Food Series - Setting the standards

RSPCA Approved Good Food Series - Raising the standards

RSPCA Approved Good Food Series - Embracing the standards


All Woolworths Own Brand fresh whole turkey comes from higher welfare RSPCA Approved farms (4).

In 2020, we transitioned to source all our Woolworths brand fresh whole turkeys to RSPCA Approved farms in time for Christmas.

Turkeys on RSPCA Approved farms are encouraged to be active. They have good lighting, perches, dry litter floor covering to scratch and dust bathe, interesting objects to peck and space to move.  These provisions, along with a combination of factors, provide turkeys with a better quality of life.

“Woolworths' participation in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme means farms supplying the supermarket undergo a robust certification process and millions of birds are reared with a focus on animal welfare every year. Because of this commitment by Woolworths and their suppliers, it's easier than ever for customers to support better farming by choosing certified higher welfare RSPCA Approved chicken and turkey when they shop.” Richard Mussell, RSPCA Australia CEO.

4. Excludes pet food, gravy, and stocks. 


At Woolworths, eggs are an important component of many of our customers’ shopping baskets. To ensure quality and food safety, all Woolworths Own Brand eggs must be produced to the Woolworths Supplier Excellence Audit program, which includes complying with the egg industry’s own Quality Assurance program, Egg Standards of Australia (ESA). All Woolworths Brand eggs must meet ESA Level 3 for Rearing and Layer Farms or equivalent, or higher. Compliance with both Standards to Level 3 provides assurance of quality practices employed on farms from the rearing of day-old chicks to the packing of eggs for sale. 

ESA for Rearing and Laying Farms covers all aspects of production including hen welfare, egg quality, biosecurity, worker health and safety, and environmental management. The aspects of animal welfare which must be complied with are:

  • ensuring employees handling the hens receive adequate training to do so

  • provision of ideal lighting and air quality

  • provision of adequate food and water to the hens in a safe environment

  • provision of environmental enrichments such as perches and nesting boxes

  • maintenance of a healthy stocking density

  • daily monitoring of hen health and production. 

All Woolworths Own Brand suppliers are assessed annually to ensure their compliance with ESA Level 3 in both Standards.

We are also committed to offering customers a range of eggs that supports animal welfare outcomes. Selected stores in South Australia offer Rohde's Free Range Eggs, which have been a part of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme for well over a decade. 

At Woolworths, the Own Brand products we sell which are 100% cage-free are split between: 

  • Barn raised (maximum 30kg hens/ m2 stocking density)

  • Free Range (maximum 10,000 birds per hectare stocking density) 

  • Organic (maximum 1,500 birds per hectare stocking density) 

In addition to ESA Level 3, our organic eggs are also produced to the Australian Certified Organic standard.

It is important to ensure that egg laying hens have access to environmental enrichment so that they can express their natural behaviours. 100% of our egg layer hens for Woolworths Own Brand have access to enrichment, including a range of perches, pecking projects, hay/straw bales, trees and dust bathing boxes.

In 2015 we stopped selling caged eggs under the Woolworths brand.  This means 100% of Woolworths Brand whole eggs are cage-free, laid by hens free from close confinement.  We are continuing our work towards using only cage-free eggs as an ingredient in our Own Brand products by 2025. We have also committed to all supplier branded whole shell eggs we sell being cage-free by 2025.

In 2019 we were awarded the Compassion In World Farming Good Egg award for our commitment to moving to 100% cage free egg in our own brand ingredient egg and branded shell egg by 2025.  

We continue to make progress towards our commitment to source eggs products that are cage-free. As of July 2023 Woolworths Australia and Countdown vendor brand whole shell cage free eggs by weight of products sold: 66%.

We continue to make progress towards our commitment that by 2025, all vendor brand shell eggs products will be cage-free. 

As of July 2023:

  • Woolworths Australia Vendor Brand Cage Free Shell Egg: 88%
  • Woolworths Countdown Vendor Brand Cage Free Shell Egg: 67%
  • Woolworths Group Vendor Brand Cage Free Shell Egg: 84%

We continue to make progress towards our commitment that by 2025, all eggs used as an ingredient in our Own Brand products will be cage-free. 

As of July 2023:

  • Woolworths Group Own Brand Cage Free Egg used as an ingredient: 21%

Above figures are reporting for ingredient egg volume.


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Manning Valley

Beef, Lamb and Pork


All our beef, lamb and pork are sourced by our dedicated Woolworths GreenStock expert Livestock Team across Australia. Our livestock team are based regionally across Australia and, between them, have over 250 years of experience, spending most of their time out on the farm with our producers. Many of our farmers have supplied Woolworths for many generations and are focused on good animal welfare as well as providing a consistent, high quality product. Our Woolworths livestock procurement team are all highly experienced in livestock production, animal handling and animal welfare and hold the relevant independent training requirements in animal welfare.


It is important to us that cattle in our supply chains are raised in a way that promotes responsible production to benefit people, communities, and the planet.

All our Woolworths cattle are sourced directly from Australian farms by one of our experienced livestock team. Our Woolworths cattle spend the beginning of their lives on farms out at grass, ensuring that all of our Woolworths cattle have access to pasture-based enrichment during their lives. Any cattle destined for grain-fed systems will be on grass until the last couple of months.  All the beef we source needs to meet the requirements of our animal welfare policy as well as meeting all national regulations, legislation and the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) farm requirements.  Our feedlot beef is accredited by the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS). The NFAS incorporates a strict animal welfare component, which ensures the cattle in an accredited feedlot are well cared for and monitored daily. Feed, water and air quality, temperature and heat levels are constantly checked. If an animal displays any signs of illness, it is treated by livestock team members trained by a veterinarian.

Our Woolworths Grass fed beef range is free from artificially added growth promotants or enhancers.  Our organic beef range is free from artificially added growth promotants and free from antibiotics, the cattle are all organically fed.


All our Woolworths fresh pork is Australian and independently audited to the Australian Pork Industry Quality (APIQ) standard, which means that our Woolworths fresh pork comes from systems that meet the APIQ Gestation Stall Free standards.

We have worked with our suppliers to ensure all our fresh pork is free from any artificially added hormones, growth enhancers or promotants.  Surgical castration is prohibited within our Woolworths pigs. 100% of pigs requiring castration have been immuno-castrated in line with veterinarian approval. 

Free Range Pork

Our free range pork is certified to the APIQ Free Range standard. The pigs have access to the outdoors year-round where they are free to forage, are provided with access to soil, pasture, bedding, and shelter from the elements. This enables them to exhibit natural social and physical behaviour.


Woolworths fresh lamb is 100% Australian. Only 20% of Woolworths’ lambs are sourced from accredited saleyards with 80% sourced straight from the farm.  No Woolworths lamb is mulesed. All Woolworths lamb abattoirs are certified by the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) administered by the Australian Meat Industry Council.

Dairy Cows 

Farmers’ Own

Our Farmers’ Own fresh milk comes from farms regionally across Australia. The Farmers Own initiative was started in 2013 with Farmers from the Manning Valley in NSW. The brand began with a trial of just eight local stores within the Manning Valley and 12 Sydney stores in NSW. Its success saw the brand expand into VIC, QLD, WA, SA and NT, all the while building direct relationships with Farmers from key provincial areas within these states (Margaret River WA, Otways Regions VIC, Sunshine Coast Hinterland QLD and Barossa Mid North Region SA).  We have direct relationships with our Farmers and not via a processor or a Co-op to ensure they are getting a good deal every time. Our goal is to pay our Farmers a good price that allows them to continue to produce quality milk. Milk is collected from their farms and transported directly to be processed so we know exactly where the milk comes from that goes into Farmers' Own milk. Our Farmers are engaged in the branding and feel a sense of belonging to the brand because it is their milk that goes into each bottle. We work with our farmers on sustainable and good animal husbandry practices and our farmers and families are proudly active in promoting Farmers' Own branded milk in their communities.

Our Farmers’ Own dairy herd has no permanently housed cattle, or tie-stall systems and in 2021 most of our cows have access to grazing at least 18 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Currently 94.7% of farmers have a foot care and mastitis reduction program in place and we are working towards closing this gap. Routine tail docking and euthanizing of bull calves on-farm and induced calving are prohibited other than for health and welfare reasons. Many of our farmers keep and raise their male calves on their farms for over 80 days.

More information on The Farmers Own Dairy Milk can be found here

Woolworths brand - Fresh Milk

For our Woolworths Brand white milk and fresh cream, our suppliers also report that herds have no permanently housed cattle, or tie-stall systems. Each has a company farm standard in place that covers animal welfare.

Farmed Fish and other Aquaculture

As an Australian supermarket with a large seafood range, we are committed to working with industry to fish more sustainably, to avoid further decline in fish stocks and harm to the marine environment.

For more information on our Woolworths Seafood and our seafood sourcing policy please visit Woolworths Ecologically Responsible Seafood.


Communicating our messages to customers

It is important to Woolworths that our customers know about our animal welfare achievements and commitments and how hard our farmers and suppliers work to improve animal welfare within our supply chains to bring our customers great quality products.

Messaging on pack

Manning Valley

All products produced to a certified / approved standard such as RSPCA Approved will hold the certification logo on the pack to help customers identify high welfare products.  The Discovery section of our Supermarkets website provides insights into our Sustainability initiatives including Animal Welfare. We have recently updated this to bring our customers more information on Sustainability including animal welfare.  Where possible products are linked to more information on the website such as our RSPCA Approved Chicken. We now also have a dedicated section on our shopping website for our customers to be able to find more information on our products ‘Meet the Farmers’. We have increased our number of producer stories, such as meeting our long standing beef farmers Scott and Katie Lloyd.

Fresh Magazine

All our customers can access via hard copy available in every store or online our monthly Fresh Magazine. Fresh has recently featured “Meet our Farmers” which includes where our products are sourced and to what standard. We have also been running a series of National TV adverts which support our ‘Meet our Farmer” campaign.


Several of our stores contain Point of Sale (POS) call outs to inform customers of responsible choices. This includes branding for RSPCA Approved Chicken. We have increased the amount of supply stories we call out in our stores. 


We also included a full page on RSPCA Approved chicken in our online catalogue when we reached our target of RSPCA Approved chicken in ingredient. Our catalogues reach 7.8 million customers each week.​ 

This year we have increased our communications around animal welfare including:

  • A refreshed Sustainability Hub with updated messaging on Animal Welfare including benchmarks, eggs, and chicken. 

  • A wide-ranging World Environment Day Sustainability Campaign featuring commitments around RSPCA-approved Chicken and Cage Free Eggs. This included advertisements on street furniture (e.g., Bus stops), social media, national press ads, online video instore radio, and a feature in a digi-catalogue

  • Raising awareness of RSPCA-Approved Christmas Turkeys through the inclusion within a digi-catalogue and adding of RSPCA logo online

  • A profile on a Free-range egg Supplier in the October 2020 Issue of the Woolworths Fresh Magazine

Agricultural Scholarships and Shows

Woolworths has long-standing sponsorships with the major agricultural shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. These events bring the country to the city, and through competitions and events celebrate the best of Australian agriculture and provide an insight into where our Woolworth food comes from. Find out more about our involvement with Agricultural Shows and Scholarships across Australia.

Farm Animal Welfare Performance Reporting 

Woolworths Group Reporting

We have begun collecting and reporting animal welfare performance data for key issues for Woolworths group Ltd. We will continue to increase the data we collect across our total supply chain. The data in the following table relates to Woolworths Group Fresh Own Brand products unless stated otherwise.


Woolworths Australia (%)

Proportion of laying hens that are cage-free (for shell eggs and fresh/frozen products and ingredients)


Proportion of broiler chickens reared at lower stocking densities (specifically, 30 kg/m2 or less)


What proportion of broiler chickens (for fresh/frozen chicken products and ingredients) in the company’s global supply chain is subject to controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion?


Proportion of sows free from farrowing crates


Proportion of pigs free from tail docking


Proportion of dairy cows free from tail docking (fresh milk, fresh cream and butter supply chains)


Proportion of fresh/frozen milk or milk products and ingredients sourced from cows that are free from tethering


Proportion of dairy cattle provided with pasture access for at least 6 hours per day for 120 days/year

95.00% (5)

Proportion of farmed salmon (for fresh/frozen salmon products and ingredients) in the company’s global supply chain is reared at lower stocking densities (specifically, 10kg/m3 or less)


Proportion of farmed salmon (for fresh/frozen salmon products and ingredients) in the company’s global supply chain is stun-killed using percussion or electrocution or is pre-slaughter stunned using effective percussion or electrocution followed up by a kill method before recovery of consciousness


Proportion of animals (excluding fin fish) transported within 8 hours.


Proportion of poultry transported within 4 hours


Proportion of animals (including finfish (6)) that is subject to pre-slaughter stunning


Details on the volume of meat, dairy, fish and eggs we source can be found in our regional report.

5. Farmers Own for Australia which is approximately 15% of total fresh milk volume

6. Only farmed Australian fin fish

Species Specific Enrichment 

Woolworths Group believes that, to promote natural behaviour and positive mental experiences, environmental enrichment should be provided to all animals in Own Brand supply chains. To see our progress to date, see the table below on species-specific enrichment provided and the positive behaviours that they are designed to encourage in addition to what is outlined in the species-specific information above. The table below provides an update on the proportion of animals provided with species specific enrichment within our own brand fresh supply chains by species in Financial Year 2022/2023.


Enrichment Provided

Behaviour Expressed

Woolworths Australia


Layer Hens (whole shell egg)

Perches, nesting boxes, quality litter, scratching areas

Pecking, nesting, perching, dust bathing, foraging, scratching


Meat Chickens

Perches, litter, pecking objects

Pecking, perching, dust bathing, foraging, scratching


Whole Turkeys

Perches, pecking objects, litter

Perching, dust bathing, foraging, scratching



Straw bedding material, enrichment blocks, nesting material

Foraging and play


Pork (sows) Australia

Nesting material




Pasture Access

Grazing, social behaviours


Beef (7)

Pasture Access

Grazing, social behaviours


Dairy cattle (Woolworths Fresh Milk)

Pasture Access

Grazing, social behaviours

95-100% (8)

Dairy Cattle (Farmers’ Own) (Australia only)

Pasture Access for over 120 days per year for a minimum of 6 hours

Grazing, social behaviours


Dairy cattle (Farmers' Own Milk) (Australia only)

Additional enrichment (loafing areas, trees for shade and shelter, cow brushes)

Comfort, social behaviours, scratching



7. 80% of our cattle for Woolworths Australia come from feedlots - on average they will spend 420 days on grass which is 86% of their life

8. Our supplier survey indicates this to be 95-100%

Husbandry Practices

Woolworths Group is committed to eradicating the practice of routine husbandry procedures and is working with suppliers to find alternatives. Mutilations should only be undertaken to protect the welfare of the animals, and any procedures must be carried out by a trained and competent individual using the most humane techniques and recognised best practice with appropriate analgesia administered to minimise pain. In addition to our Animal Welfare Policy requirements, the below table shows our progress around routine mutilations. If beak trimming/tipping is to be used in layer hens, only infrared treatment of day-old chicks is used and will only be carried out by appropriately trained staff.

Sector or species


Woolworths Aus (%)

Meat Chickens (fresh & ingredient)

Free From Beak Trimming


Dairy cattle (Farmers’ Own Milk)

Free From Tail Docking


Fresh Lamb

Free From Mulesing


Dairy Cattle - Fresh Milk

Free From Tail Docking


Organic and free range pigs

Free From Tail docking & teeth clipping


Fresh pork - finisher pigs

Free From Teeth clipping


Fresh pork - finisher pigs

Free From Tail docking


Farmed finfish (9)

Free From Fin clipping



9. On farmed Australian fin fish

Close Confinement 

Woolworths Group Limited is committed to the removal of close confinement systems from farm production in our supply chains where feasible. The tables below show our progress in this area and provide an update on the proportion of animals free from close confinement within our own brand supply chains by species in Financial Year 2022/2023.

Proportion of Animals Free from Close Confinement 2022/23



Australia (%)

Chicken Meat (Fresh and Ingredient)



Layer Hens (Whole Shell egg own brand)



Non-Woolworths Brand Layer Hens (Whole Shell egg)



Layer Hens (Own Brand Ingredient egg) (10)



Dairy Cows (fresh milk, fresh cream and butter)



Fresh Pork

Gestation Sow Stall Free (11)


Farrowing Crates


Dairy calves (Farmers' Own Milk) Australia only

Group Housing from birth 



10. We are working towards removing cages in our own brand products containing ingredient egg by 2024 and have seen positive improvements in the last year in the transition

11. In accordance with the AQIS GSF standard for Australia

Commitments – Progress Update


Progress 2023

By 2025, our ingredient egg in Own Brand products will be cage-free (Woolworths Group)


By 2025, our vendor brand whole shell eggs will be cage-free (Woolworths Group)


All Woolworths Group Own Brand Shell eggs are cage free


All Woolworths Group dairy cows are free from tethering (fresh milk, fresh cream and butter)


By December 2020 all Woolworths Australia Own Brand fresh chicken, fresh whole turkey and chicken used as an ingredient in Woolworths Own Brand products comes from RSPCA Approved farms (12)


All Woolworths Australia Macro Brand Chicken and Turkey are certified organic or free range accredited


All Woolworths Group pigs are free from artificially added hormones and growth enhancers


12. Excludes pet food, gravy, and stocks. Our small number of imported canned and boxed chicken products are certified by independent foreign accreditation.


Performance on transport times

We acknowledge that Australia is a vast country and work with our suppliers to reduce transport times where possible. However, Australia is a country which experiences extreme weather conditions such as sustained periods of drought, flooding, and bush fires and when this occurs livestock can require at times to be moved to ensure safety, adequate feed to maintain health, vigour and nutritional requirements. Our processing sites and abattoirs are located regionally to further reduce transport times. 

Transportation times must be minimised at all times and, where possible, transport times should not exceed 8 hours. The welfare of animals must never be compromised. Woolworths encourages livestock transporters to have independent transport schemes in place such as TruckSafe and must adhere to the National Transport Guidelines. We’ve completed a transport standard in association with the Australian Trucking Association and Truck Safe. 

Below are our average transport times for each species.  Any incidents involving transportation of Woolworths livestock must be reported for the Animal Welfare Manager or a member of the livestock team and the relevant Animal Welfare certification scheme for investigation and resolution. The table below provides an update for our fresh supply on our average transport time by species in Financial Year 2022/2023.



Transport Time

% of supply transported within times listed

% of Supply transported for under 8 hours


 6 hours 




 6 hours





<4 Hours 




4-6 Hours 




<2 Hours 




2-4 Hours 



<2 hours




<8 hours




Pre-slaughter Stunning

All livestock sold under Woolworths Group Limited must have been humanely slaughtered. All beef, lamb, pork, and poultry must be pre-slaughter stunned. All farmed fish must be slaughtered using methods that result in rapid and irreversible loss of consciousness. Suppliers must record the number of animals that are ineffectively stunned and/or require back up stunning. This is verified at audit and captured through our welfare outcome measures. The stunning and slaughter method varies by species, and we work with suppliers to ensure the procedure is humane and uses the best available techniques.

Housing Systems & Stocking Densities

Percentage of supply grown in housing systems 









Pork (Fresh)

Group reared in straw bedded barns




Group reared in indoor slatted systems




Free range




Layer Hens (Whole shell egg)

Free range












Percentage of Supply Grown to Stocking Densities 2022/23









Meat chickens (Fresh)





















Turkey - RSPCA Approved





Egg (Fresh)

Barn raised (Density of max. 30kg hen per m2)




Free Range (Outdoor density of max. 10000 hens per hectare)




Organic (Outdoor density of max. 1500 hens per hectare)




Fin Fish*



10.41 kg/m3

10.40 kg/m3

Rainbow Trout


55.00 kg/m3

55.00 kg/m3

Salmon & Ocean Trout


8.61 kg/m3

10.00 - 15 kg/m3



60.00 kg/m3


Outcome Measure Reporting

The table below includes species specific outcome measure results from our own Woolworths Australia own brand fresh supply chains.  Due to changes in the data collection methodology the results for beef, lamb and pork represent June and July 2023.  All other species are based on 12 month performance over our financial year.



Proportion (%) of animals

FY 2022/2023

Layer Hens

Mortality rate


Secondary/ backup stun


Mortality rate (DOAs)


Meat Chickens

Broken Wings


Footpad Lesions


Hock lesions


Breast Lesions


Mortality rate (DOAs)


Secondary/ backup stun


Road traffic incidents


Fresh Beef

Injured during transport / unfit for transport


Secondary/ backup stun


Mortality rate (DOAs)


Lame or injured in lairage


Road traffic incidents






Fresh Lamb  

Injured during transport / unfit for transport


Mortality rate (DOAs)


Secondary/ backup stun


Lame or injured in lairage


Road traffic incidents






Fresh Pork

Injured during transport/ unfit for transport


Lame or injured in lairage






Mortality rate (DOAs)


Road traffic incidents


Secondary/ backup stun


Dairy (Farmers’ Own) (13)

Mastitis - Average herd cases per 100 cows


Lameness - Average lameness cases in the last 12 months for score 2 & 3


Fin fish

Proportion (%) of finfish that are fin-clipped


13. 2021/2022 data

Dairy Farmers Own

Our Farmers’ Own dairy herd has no permanently housed cattle, or tie-stall systems and in 2021 most of our cows have access to at least 18 hours a day, 365 days of the year - increased from 320 days the year before. In 2021/2022 94.7% of Farmers had a foot care and mastitis reduction program in place and we are working towards closing this gap. Routine tail docking and euthanizing of bull calves on-farm and induced calving are prohibited other than for health and welfare reasons. In 2021, most farmers were keeping calves on farm for a minimum of 89 days. 

Mortality Rate (Dead on arrival)

Please note that data was not collected for laying hens in 2019/2020 and beef/lamb in 2021/22. Beef recorded as 0.00% in 2020/21 and 2022/23

Ineffective Stun

Please note that data was not collected for laying hens, chicken, lamb or pork in 2019/2020 and beef/lamb in 2021/22. Laying hens reported as 0.00% in 2020/21 and 2021/22, lamb in 2020/21 and 2022/23 and pork in 2022/23.


Data reporting caveats – 2022/23

The tables below provide a summary of the percentage of supply covered within this report based on volume of products purchased by Woolworths.


Woolworths Australia


Percentage (%) of fresh supply included in reporting






Beef (14)


Lamb (15)


Dairy (16)






Fin Fish (17)



14. Excluding supplementary volume 

15. Excluding supplementary volume

16. Cheese 91%, butter 34%, ice cream, fresh cream and fresh milk 100%

17. Barramundi 95.21%, basa suppliers 100%. ocean trout suppliers 100%, rainbow trout 5.71%, salmon 95.91%

Responsible Usage of Antimicrobials

We have recently launched our Woolworths Australia Antimicrobial Stewardship policy. At Woolworths, we support and encourage industry best practice, guidelines and initiatives around antimicrobial stewardship within our supply chains. Responsible antimicrobial usage plays a vital role in maintain in good animal health and welfare when required, in conjunction with a clearly defined and informed veterinary health strategy.

If you have any further questions or concerns around Woolworths animal welfare policies, procedures and principles please contact: sustainability@woolworths.com.au


For our progress against this goal, see our 2023 Sustainability Report. For more information on our metrics, see our 2023 Sustainability Data Pack.