Dairy Cattle Health and Welfare improvements on target

Published 17 October 11

The first Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG) report shows the British dairy industry is hitting its targets for the country's Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy.

Targets reached include: the set up of a national system to collate data on cow production, health and welfare trends, the database can now be interrogated for data on fertility, calving ease and mastitis; more than 750 farms are now registered for the DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan; the launch of the DairyCo Healthy Feet Programme has supported the group's lameness targets, providing new resources and encouraging the industry to work together; and since the introduction of a national genetic assessment for fertility, genetic quality is also improving says the report.

Group chair, Tim Brigstocke, says: "Support for the Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy continues to grow with the adoption of targets by a greater number of organisations.  Together, we want to demonstrate the high level of welfare that already exists in the UK dairy sector, while at the same time seeing it continually improve based on the outcomes of the latest science." 

The number of organisations collaborating as part of the group is also increasing, which illustrates the level of importance that the industry attributes to the group's aims.

"The strategy provides the focus through the group to enhance its performance collectively and positively as it continues on its dynamic journey," says Mr Brigstocke. "The group will continue to review the strategy and associated targets and importantly will continue to provide the progress reports which make the sector even more accountable."

Group member, the RSPCA welcomes the joined-up approach of the industry: "The strategy recognises the main priorities for improving dairy cow welfare, and by working together, the organisations involved believe that tangible improvements will be achieved."

The BCVA agrees, saying: "By working in partnership, the diverse sectors engaged in the UK dairy industry have the opportunity to deliver genuinely sustainable dairy production."

A copy of the full report can downloaded from group member websites, or can be obtained by emailing ruminanthandw@gmail.com.

ENDS

Date  17 October 2011

Editor's notes:

The full report can be downloaded here.

The Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG) has four key work priorities and one of these is this Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy.  In delivering the strategy all main organisations who represent British dairy farmers have come together to promote how their members are continually striving to improve the welfare of the animals within their care.

Through the industry forum, the sector can responsibly align messages and ensure that where weaknesses are identified, strategies and actions can be developed and delivered through the most appropriate industry organisations in a coordinated manner.

The Cattle Health and Welfare Group members are:

Assured Food Standards
British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA)
DairyCo
Dairy UK
Holstein UK
NFU
NFU Scotland
RABDF
RSPCA

For further information:

N:         Helen Fina        
T:         02476 478696
E:         helen.fina@dairyco.ahdb.org.uk
W:        www.dairyco.org.uk