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. 


 RH&W has committed to helping the industry publish an annual progress report. The report will capture data evidencing the outcomes achieved by the strategy’s stakeholders, showing the actions taken annually to achieve the six welfare goals.

These actions will be reported by groups of key industry stakeholders working together to gather evidence of industry achievements and progress on the six goals.



The key stakeholder groups are:  
  • Farm assurance
  • Farmers
  • Governments 
  • Supply chain (processing)
  • Supply chain (retail)
  • Research organisations
  • Veterinary surgeons


The dairy welfare strategy is part of a wider body of work at RH&W to facilitate and create welfare strategies for the whole UK ruminant sector – sheep and beef cattle ones will follow in due course.


Supporting Organisations