Cows Belong in Fields. That is the simple premise behind Compassion in World Farming’s dairy campaign. And we are working to ensure that all cows have access to fields and pasture rather than being permanently housed with thousands of other cows, confined in giant sheds and milked three times a day - as they would potentially be in mega-dairies.
Our work on dairy cows is two-fold: within the European Union (EU) we seek to secure policy changes that will improve the welfare of all the EU’s dairy cows. In the UK we are working to ensure that all UK cows have pasture access and we peacefully oppose mega dairy applications.
What we are doing
Dairy truth: EU dairy investigation
Compassion in World Farming has long called for Europe’s cows to be given the same species specific protection that is afforded other EU farm animals, such as pigs and hens. In the Summer of 2012, Compassion in World Farming’s investigation team went undercover in over 50 farms in Germany, Denmark and Spain to highlight the welfare problems faced by Europe’s cows. Some of the footage is shocking, and it is not limited to just those three countries but a problem across many European nations.
- Find out more about the investigation, and read eyewitness accounts.
The need for European legislation
As part of this work to improve dairy cow welfare, Compassion formed a coalition with ice cream producers Ben and Jerry’s (a winner of Compassion’s Good Dairy Award) and The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in 2012 to work, under the banner of Supporting Better Dairy.
Our ask: that the European Commission introduce an EU Dairy Cow Welfare Directive that will aim to protect the welfare of over 23m dairy cows. By ensuring:
- Good Housing
- Good Feeding
- Good Health
- Cows being able to express their natural behaviours
In October 2013, a petition containing almost 300,000 names was handed to the European Commission to demand the urgent introduction of legislation to protect the welfare of dairy cows. You can read more about this event.
The campaign for pasture access and against mega-dairies
‘Cows belong in Fields’ was the name of our campaign against Nocton Dairies – the UK’s first proposed mega-dairy. The simple premise of the campaign was so successful that we have now adopted the ‘Cows Belong in Fields’ name for our entire UK dairy campaign. Wherever possible we oppose mega-dairy applications and we continue to work to ensure that all cows have access to pasture.
Compassion in World Farming believes that all cows should have access to pasture, at least during the grass growing season and during the rest of the year if the weather remains sufficiently dry.