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Animal Welfare Policy

Our approach to animal welfare for Own Brand farmed animals is based on the Five Freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress 

This includes dairy, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, pigs and aquaculture species.

Animal Welfare Management

The day to day management of Animal Welfare is managed by our Animal Welfare manager Dr. Nick Hover.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

Woolworths has CCTV coverage of poultry livestock handling, throughout the Australian livestock supply chain. Currently, this is evident in 100% of our sites. Woolworths is able to access this CCTV during audits and upon request. Any non-conformances will be reported to Woolworths Animal Welfare Manager.

RSPCA Chicken Policy

Our Own Brand fresh chicken is sourced from farms that are RSPCA Approved.


All of the pork that we source is subject to our own Woolworths Quality Accreditation standards as well as being audited to the Australian Pork Industry Quality (APIQ) standards

Free Range Pork Policy

Our Own Brand Free range pork is independently audited by Australian Pork Quality Industry Assurance Program.

Dairy Cows

Our ‘Farmers Own’ farmers, don’t euthanize bull calves on-farm other than for health reasons and grow the calves out to at least five days old. Tail docking is banned and we have a foot care and mastitis program in place. 

Farmed Rabbit

Woolworth's does not source farmed rabbit.

Rearing Livestock/Close confinement

All our Own-brand fresh pork is sourced from farms that only use gestation stalls for less than 10% of the sow’s gestation period. Our Farmers Own dairy herd has continual access to pasture. Our goal is to stop sourcing eggs from caged hens by 2025. Our Own Brand RSPCA Approved chicken is grown to:

  • 28kg per m2 for natural ventilation systems.
  • 34kg per m2 for mechanical ventilation systems.

Pre-slaughter stunning

100% of Woolworths' farm animals are stunned prior to slaughter, in addition, we require all our producers of livestock to record the pre-slaughter stunning process and efficacy of the system which we verify at audit. Each species has a different approach and we work with producers, to ensure the procedure is achieved 100% of the time, is humane and uses the best available recognised techniques.

Growth Promotants

Our Own Brand dairy, lamb, poultry, eggs, pigs and aquaculture species are reared without Growth Promotants. We work with the beef industry to National Industry standards. 

Genetically Modified (GM)

We do not allow the use of GM ingredients in Woolworths branded products. Animals used to produce all our own-brand organic range of meat, eggs and milk are reared on non-GM feed. Our requirements on GM ingredients are communicated to our Own Brand suppliers in our Brand Guidelines and Woolworths supplier excellence program. 

Genetic Engineering

Woolworths do not allow any land-based animals to be genetically modified or cloned. This includes dairy, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, pigs for Own Brand Products.


At Woolworths we recognise the importance of antibiotics in human and animal medicine and the risk of their improper use. We encourage our producers to optimise welfare, health, hygiene, husbandry and biosecurity of animals and avoid the need to use antibiotic treatment unless the welfare of an animal is compromised. Veterinary medicines, including antibiotics are only used under veterinary guidance. Our RSPCA Approved chickens have a Veterinary Health plan and the usage of antibiotics is monitored during audit.

Husbandry Practices

Woolworths is opposed to mutilations but recognises that they are carried out for welfare purposes on veterinary advice. These mutilations should be avoided where possible, use the most humane technique by a trained and competent individual, and that appropriate analgesia be administered. 100% of our Farmers Own Dairy cows are free from tail docking. For Farmers Own cattle we have a disbudding standard in place. We’ve rolled out our Pork Blueprint which has banned surgical castration, teeth clipping and grinding and is conducting research to phase out tail docking.

Target Setting

Our goal is to stop sourcing shell eggs and as an ingredient from caged hens by 2025. Woolworths own-brand products in-store where chicken is a defined visible ingredient (i.e. chicken pieces) will also use RSPCA (or equivalent) standard by December 2020.