Buy organic or RSPCA Assured (formerly RSPCA Freedom Food) dairy products and look out for our Good Dairy Award Winners
The modern dairy cow, particularly the Holstein-Friesian, has been selectively bred to produce higher and higher milk yields at the expense of her welfare. She requires strict management and feeding and is more susceptible to production diseases, lameness, mastitis and fertility problems. As a consequence she is increasingly housed permanently indoors, fed large quantities of concentrate feed and is worn out after only 3 lactations or less.
Organic dairy farming ensures cows have access to pasture grazing in the grass growing season and encourages better welfare and better breeding in dairy cattle to reduce problems like lameness, mastitis and poor fertility. Also, look out for milk from more robust breeds including Ayrshire, Shorthorn, British Friesian and Channel Island breeds.
RSPCA Assured dairy standard ensures cows have access to pasture in the grass growing season and lower stocking densities when housed. Look out for our Good Dairy Award winners who also ensure pasture grazing in the grass growing season and active programmes for improving dairy cow welfare.
Remember products like cheese, ice cream and chocolate contain milk, and the cows that produce this milk should also have a good quality of life.
When you're eating out, remember the milk in your coffee or the cheese in your sandwich is unlikely to be organic unless it says so on the menu. Talk to the manager and see if they are willing to change their dairy supplier so dairy cows have access to pasture grazing and bull calves are not shot at birth or exported to the continent.
Good Dairy Awards
Our awards recognise companies that commit to using higher welfare production systems for dairy cows and calves throughout their supply chain. Full award winners provide pasture access and implement a welfare improvement programme for their dairy cows as well as rearing their dairy calves in higher welfare systems. Dairy Cow Commendation winners have yet to secure a supply chain for their dairy calves.
Find winning companies using higher welfare systems for dairy cows and dairy calves on our Good Dairy Awards website.