News

Animal welfare policy

We care about animal welfare – and have long-sought to support the humane treatment of animals in agriculture.

Today, our commitment extends throughout our global supply chain, as we seek to continuously learn and work to improve animal agriculture practices.

This work is done in close partnership with our suppliers and others, and we strive to create sustainable practices using the most humane animal treatment practices, which we believe will deliver greater business success by aligning closer to consumer expectations.

We believe that by striving for sustainable sourcing for all our animal ingredients, we will create the environment for more humane treatments of animals globally.

Advancing Common Principles

To advance toward a more sustainable planet including animal welfare, we will apply and work to achieve the “five freedoms” for all animals in our supply chain.

  • Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition.
  • Freedom from discomfort.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
  • Freedom from fear and distress.
  • Freedom to engage in normal patterns of animal behavior.

Focused Efforts

Our focus extends in various ways to how animals are raised and treated, including:

Egg production

Eggs are an important ingredient in many of our products, and we strive to ensure that the hens laying these eggs are treated humanely.

Free Range Eggs
We are proud that Häagen-Dazs – General Mills’ largest international business – sources only 100 percent free-range eggs for all its ice cream produced in Europe, while continuing to support and source local ingredients from local farmers and suppliers.

Cage Free Eggs
We commit to working toward 100 percent cage free eggs for our U.S. and Canada operations by 2025

Milk production

Along with other Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) members, General Mills is working with farmers associations in Europe to ensure adherence to the “five freedoms.”

We’re working to understand the issues of pain relief for dairy cows including de-horning, tail docking, and castration. General Mills supports the use of polled genetics breeding programs to promote polled or naturally hornless cattle, thereby eliminating the need for dehorning.  This approach has demonstrated success in the beef industry and we support a similar approach in the dairy industry.  General Mills encourages all suppliers in our dairy supply chain to support industry-wide efforts that promote the humane treatment of cattle, including the responsible polled breeding practices.  Until dehorning is eliminated, General Mills supports the adoption of best management practices, including procedure timing and use of analgesics and/or anesthetics.

 In the U.S., General Mills’ Yoplait was the first leading yogurt company to source only milk produced by cows not treated with the synthetic growth hormone rBST. General Mills’ Häagen-Dazs ice cream in Europe is also produced using only cream and milk from cows not treated with rBST.

Pork production

General Mills supports the development of pregnant sow housing alternatives.  Though we recognize that the development and implementation of alternative systems may be a long-term process, in 2013 we announced that we will favor pork suppliers that provide actionable plans by 2017 to create traceability and end their use of gestation crates within the U.S. pork supply chain.  As well, we’re working to understand and address the issue of pain relief and potential elimination of castration and tail docking.

Poultry

We’re working to understand any potential animal welfare issues associated with fast growth of broiler chickens and turkeys.

Related

Antibiotics
General Mills agrees with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that judicious use of medically important antibiotic drugs can help preserve the effectiveness of these drugs as therapies for humans and animals. For that reason, we do not support routine use of antibiotic drugs to promote growth in livestock, and believe such drugs should be used only as necessary and appropriate to maintain the health of animals.

Animal testing
It has long been General Mills’ policy to restrict and/or minimize the testing of food products and food ingredients on animals other than humans. As a result, the vast majority of our products do not incorporate testing of any kind on animals, other than humans, and we do not conduct research on animals, other than humans, in company laboratories.