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Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for dairy production?

Article ID: 343
Last updated: 25 May, 2017
Revision: 3
Views: 13483

The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme at present covers the production of eggs, pork, chicken and turkey. RSPCA-Approved farms maintain a high level of welfare for the housing and management of layer hens, pigs, meat chickens and turkeys. Given the serious welfare issues facing hens in cages, sows in sow stalls and traditional farrowing crates, and poultry in crowded sheds, the RSPCA believed it was important to first introduce a welfare-friendly alternative for these species. Standards for dairy cattle may follow in the future.

In contrast to the fairly intensive nature of dairy production overseas - where cows may be housed in sheds for their entire lives - most Australian dairy cows spend at least part of the day on green pasture. Welfare issues in the dairy industry include the treatment of bobby calves, mastitis and lameness in dairy cows, the induction of calves, tail docking of dairy cows, and dehorning of dairy calves (see linked articles below). Australian dairy cows generally have lower levels of mastitis and lameness than those in the US and UK, are not routinely tail docked, and calves are not reared in extreme confinement.

In the absence of RSPCA standards for dairy production, consumers are encouraged to contact the manufacturers of their favourite dairy products and ask them about standards of care for cows and calves.

Some questions to ask:

  • Do you source milk from farmers who tail dock their cows?
  • Do you source milk from farmers who induce calving?
  • Do you source milk from farmers who do not use pain management when disbudding calves?

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Also read
document What happens to bobby calves?
document How can I shop for animal-welfare friendly food?
document What is the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme?
document What is calving induction?
document Why are the tails of dairy cows docked?
document Why do dairy cows become lame?
document What is mastitis in dairy cows?
document What is veal?
document Permanently housed cows – An animal welfare issue?
document Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for fish?
document Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for dairy veal?
document Why are calves separated from their mother in the dairy industry?
document Is group housing preferable to individual housing of dairy calves?
document How do young calves cope with transport?
document How much milk should dairy calves be fed?
document Why is colostrum feeding important for calves?

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