Letter to The Times on dairy cow welfare

Michael Oakes, Dairy Chairman_39278

British dairy farmers take the health and welfare of their dairy cows extremely seriously (The Times, page 7, 17 January). A healthy, happy animal is ultimately more productive, and as dairy farmers, we do everything we can to ensure this.

High welfare standards and good management are not size or system specific, despite claims made by Compassion in World Farming. British dairy farmers care about the comfort of their animals and the design of cattle housing is carefully considered for their needs. Cows should be able to exhibit their natural behaviour which is why Red Tractor has specific standards for dairy housing, including an area for loafing.

And while some retailers have created supply chains for dairy bull calves and that is positive, the majority of bull calves will still be reared and end up in the beef supply chain.

Nearly all British dairy farms are Red Tractor assured which means that they are inspected against animal health and welfare, environmental and food safety standards.

Therefore shoppers can be confident in dairy products displaying the Red Tractor logo while we urge the public to continue to back and value British dairy farming.

Michael Oakes

NFU dairy board chairman