Dairy exposé was ‘sensationalist’
The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) said that UK dairy farmers operated to some of the highest welfare standards in the world with robust and comprehensive legal frameworks protecting animal welfare alongside quality assurance schemes.
“Cow welfare is at the heart of everything they do. Happy cows are productive cows, which is why it is so important,” said RABDF managing director Matt Knight.
He said that while lameness had been highlighted as an issue, the industry was working hard to overcome the problem with diagnostic tools helping to catch cases early.
He added that UK farmers worked long hours to ensure the health and welfare of their cows. “We are sad the BBC has chosen to highlight one farm where inexcusable abuse was witnessed, as this is not representative of our industry."
He said while the inclusion of the Ethical Dairy in Scotland, in which calves remain with their mothers, showed an alternative system, this was not viable on many farms as the calves drank most of the milk.
But he conceded that the programme did highlight that many farmers were losing money because many consumers undervalued the monetary and nutritional value of milk, adding it was time milk and dairy products were valued correctly.
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