Launched in June 2023, the UK Dairy Cattle Welfare strategy, produced 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 for dairy cattle welfare 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.