Industry Responses News Press Release

An open letter to the UK dairy industry

Ruminant sector unites in vision for improved dairy cattle welfare by 2028

We are calling on everyone involved in the UK dairy sector – from farmers and vets, to advisers, and milk processors – to unite in support of the new UK Dairy Cattle Welfare Strategy for 2023-2028.

The strategy, launched by Ruminant Health & Welfare and supported by a host of industry leaders and organisations across the whole farm to fork supply chain, is designed to help the UK dairy sector demonstrate progress in six key areas of cow welfare over the next five years.

Being able to show our progress is key to the UK maintaining its status as a global leader in dairy cattle welfare, and potentially being able to differentiate our products from those produced in other countries.

The six strategic goals in the strategy are:

  • Thriving cows – ensuring all dairy animals are bred and reared to live a long life
  • Healthy feet – ensuring a proactive lameness management plan is in place on every UK dairy farm
  • Comfortable cows – maximising cow comfort in housing and at pasture
  • Appropriately nourished cows – ensuring a healthy body condition throughout the year
  • Healthy udders – continued improvements to udder health to reduce cases of mastitis
  • Positive welfare – moving towards ‘positive welfare’ by providing an environment that allows animals to exhibit normal behaviours such as curiosity or play

An annual progress report will be published by the strategy’s stakeholders – who include farmers, vets, and representatives from government, supply chains and research organisations – outlining the individual actions that need to be taken to achieve the six welfare goals.

This strategy, and its goals, will ensure the UK dairy industry continues to stand for proven and excellent welfare, and help it compete internationally.

To succeed, we need everyone in the industry to fully embrace the strategy, work together, and collate data to demonstrate progress.

Together, we can make a difference.