An independent auditor will ensure Nestlé's new animal welfare standards are met.

VEVEY, Switzerland — Anyone who supplies Nestlé with dairy, meat, poultry or eggs will have to meet the company’s new animal welfare guidelines. The company has signed an agreement with the non-governmental organization World Animal Protection to develop and implement the standards.

Nestle has approximately 7,300 suppliers from whom it buys animal-derived products directly, including milk for its range of yogurts and ice creams, to meat for its chilled foods and eggs for its fresh pastry and pasta.

“We know that our consumers care about the welfare of farm animals and we, as a company, are committed to ensuring the highest possible levels of farm animal welfare across our global supply chain,” said Benjamin Ware, the company’s manager of responsible sourcing.

Examples of the new standards include spacing requirements for the housing of pigs or cows to ensure they are not living in a cramped environment or unable to engage in normal animal behavior. The company also is working to ensure the pain felt by animals is minimized by employing veterinary practices that reduce pain.

Nestlé has commissioned an independent auditor, SGS, to carry out checks to ensure the new standards of animal welfare are met on its supplying farms. In 2014, several hundred farm assessments already have been conducted worldwide. Some of the checks were also attended, unannounced, by World Animal Protection representatives whose role is to verify the auditors.

When a violation is identified, Nestlé will work with the supplier to improve the treatment of farm animals to ensure they meet the required standards. If, despite engagement and guidance from Nestlé, the company is unable or unwilling to show improvement, it will no longer supply Nestlé, according to the company.