We are delighted to say that Asda will become the first major UK retailer to stock ‘Pasture Promise’ milk on their shelves from 1st March 2017.
Freedom to graze
The Free Range Dairy Pasture Promise logo appears only on milk that has been produced by cows that have the freedom to graze. Farmers must commit to grazing their cows for at least six months of the year to make their milk eligible to display this label, and it also comes with a set of standards that the producers must comply with.
The ‘free range’ labelled milk that Asda will now stock, helps consumers to make more informed choices and lets them know that this milk has been produced to higher welfare standards, where cows have access to pasture.
Unlike eggs, there is currently no law in place to define ‘free range' milk. It is estimated that around 20% of the 1.9 million dairy cows in the UK are zero-grazed, which means they are kept indoors the whole year round, with no opportunity to graze on grass or breathe in fresh air.
Cows living a natural life can live up to the age of 20 years, whereas high-yielding dairy cows are typically slaughtered after three or four lactations because their milk production drops and/or they are chronically lame or infertile. This is caused by being housed for very long periods of time, with no access to pasture.
It is incredibly encouraging that Asda has stated that it was the increased consumer demand for organic and free range products that has inspired their move to initially putting 70,000 litres of ‘free range’ milk onto their shelves, spanning across 109 stores.
The next step will be for other leading UK supermarkets to realise this increasing demand and follow in Asda’s footsteps.
Emma Slawinski, our Director of Campaigns said: ‘‘This fantastically positive step in the right direction by Asda will mean more dairy cows will be given the opportunity to live a free range life.
''We hope to see many more supermarkets follow suit in stocking Pasture Promise milk in the near future.’’
Excitingly, it is also now a very real possibility that in the future we could see the Pasture Promise logo extended to other dairy products that use milk, for example cheese.
Find out more about choosing higher welfare dairy, eggs and meat products by downloading our free Compassionate Food Guide.