People are increasingly demanding accountability from animal producers regarding what animals are fed and how they're raised. Big corporations, who have traditionally turned a blind eye to such concerns, are increasingly taking notice.
Global dairy giant Saputo, based in Canada, announced on Tuesday that it will no longer buy milk from farmers who mistreat their animals.
The company, which is one of the largest dairy processors in the world, unveiled its new policy Tuesday in the wake of an undercover video released last year that showed employees of one of its suppliers viciously beating cattle.
The footage, released by Mercy for Animals, led to eight employees of the Chilliwack Cattle Company to be fired.
"Saputo has zero tolerance for any act of animal cruelty," the company said "This includes, but is not limited to, willful mistreatment and neglect of animals and acts that maliciously cause pain, injury or suffering. We expect all dairy cattle workers (employers and employees) to adopt and adhere to proper animal care and handling methods at all times."
Saputo will now require suppliers to adhere to a code of conduct, renewed each year, and train employees in animal welfare. It also "wants to change" two widespread industry practices: Tail docking and dehorning cattle without pain control.
It was unclear on Tuesday whether or when the company will completely eliminate the two mentioned practices.
If "credible evidence" of animal cruelty emerges the supplier will be suspended and then need to follow strict criteria to be reinstated.
Mercy for Animals praised Saputo's announcement and curged other large dairy companies to follow suit.
"It's never been clearer that the days are numbered for dairy factory farms that beat and drag cows, and mutilate them without painkillers," the organization said in a statement Tuesday.
In an age of social media bad news spreads quickly. Successful companies are taking notice of this and increasingly implementing policies to stop such news from surfacing, in-line with the expectations of their consumers for what is deemed 'bad'.