Bucolic scenes on UK milk adverts cover actuality of life for ‘battery cows’ | Animal welfare

Bucolic scenes on UK milk adverts cover actuality of life for ‘battery cows’ | Animal welfare

A number of the UK’s greatest meals companies are accused of deceptive customers after shopping for their milk from intensive industrial dairy items regardless of utilizing photographs to advertise their merchandise that present cows grazing in inexperienced fields.

Tens of 1000’s of dairy cattle in England are saved in hangar-style sheds with no or very restricted entry to pasture. They’ll sometimes be milked 3 times each day, usually on giant digital rotating milk parlours, producing as much as 32 litres of milk every day.

The animal rights charity Viva! is that this weekend launching a marketing campaign on the circumstances of “zero-grazed” cattle. It cites analysis exhibiting zero-grazed cows have the next stage of well being issues, similar to lameness and mastitis, and mortality.

“These battery cows are denied their most inherent intuition: grazing on grass open air,” mentioned Juliet Gellatley, the founder and director of Viva!, which promotes veganism. “Shoppers are misled into believing that cows graze open air.”

Campaigners describe the items as a “shame” and there may be mounting strain on the dairy {industry} for higher labelling and transparency within the provide chain, figuring out merchandise containing milk from cows with no entry to pasture. At current, there isn’t any requirement for obligatory welfare labelling on milk merchandise.

The Observer has established:

Tesco’s recent milk is promoted with a picture of a grazing cow on its cartons. One among its greatest suppliers is the Lea Manor farm in Cheshire, a part of the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor group, with 2,600 dairy cattle saved in open-side sheds, with no entry to pasture.

Arla Meals has promoted its Cravendale milk model and its Care welfare and environmental programme with farmer suppliers singing “all people’s free” in fields. It has confirmed that its provide chain for different merchandise contains milk from zero-grazing items. Viva! has complained to the Promoting Requirements Authority.

Viva! argues that the advert for Cravendale milk is deceptive as a result of it considers that it gives the look that every one Arla milk comes from cows with entry to pasture.

Müller UK & Eire has footage on its web site of cows standing in fields in entrance of a desk with a glass and cartons of recent milk. Its milk provide chain contains some cattle items with no or restricted entry to pasture, the dairy large confirmed this weekend.

It has been estimated that as much as 20% of the UK dairy herd of 1.9 million cattle haven’t any or very restricted entry to pasture, however regulators don’t collate figures on intensive items. The typical annual milk manufacturing of a dairy cow has risen considerably over time, with many cows now producing as a lot as 12,000 litres of milk a yr.

Bucolic scenes on UK milk adverts cover actuality of life for ‘battery cows’ | Animal welfare
Arla’s TV advert for Cravendale milk options farmers singing ‘all people’s free’ in fields. {Photograph}: YouTube

The dairy {industry} says well-managed items present excessive animal welfare. An professional report by the federal government’s animal welfare committee in 2021 discovered that “totally housed techniques” and entry to pasture each supplied welfare advantages.

The Viva! marketing campaign identifies a number of the greatest intensive dairy items, together with the Lea Manor farm close to the Duke of Westminster’s stately house, Eaton Corridor, in Cheshire. The advanced produces sufficient milk for 430,000 folks each day, in line with Grosvenor. The milk is processed by Müller and equipped to Tesco.

Grosvenor says its facility is bigger than typical {industry} requirements, with pure mild and house to roam. It says the “state-of-the-art” facility gives “distinctive requirements” of animal welfare, slicing use of antibiotics by greater than 60% up to now 5 years and lowering incidence of sicknesses similar to mastitis to “industry-leading ranges”.

Herd measurement vs Milk yield chart

Viva! additionally recognized two intensive items within the south and south-west of England which give milk for the UK’s two greatest dairy processors, Arla and Müller. There isn’t a suggestion or proof of any breaches of rules within the milking services.

Peter Stevenson, the chief coverage adviser on the charity Compassion in World Farming, mentioned: “The general public nonetheless sees cows as being open air in fields and are unaware of their excessive yields to which they’ve been pushed and the truth that fairly a bit of them are zero-grazed. This intensive a part of the dairy sector is an utter shame.”

Arla, a farmer-owned firm, mentioned final week that provider farms met “strict and non-negotiable animal welfare requirements”, however not all milk was produced below its Care environmental and welfare programme which stipulates entry to pasture. It mentioned greater than 90% of its provider farms had been grass-based.

Dairy holdings chart

“Inside Arla, we now have quite a lot of farming techniques and don’t imagine that anybody is best than the opposite,” mentioned an organization spokesperson. Arla has an ongoing trial measuring “cow happiness” in grazed and housed dairy cattle.

A spokesperson for Müller UK & Eire mentioned: “We buy milk from round 1,300 dairy farms all through Britain, which have totally different farm sizes and manufacturing techniques. Animal welfare is a key precedence for our enterprise. Our merchandise are marketed in compliance with all rules and our farmers should comply totally with our personal Müller requirements in addition to these of the Purple Tractor dairy assurance scheme.”

Supermarkets say they know animal welfare is vital to clients and solely supply from accredited farms, with common vet inspections.

A Tesco spokesperson mentioned: “We work intently with our dairy farmers to make sure excessive animal well being and welfare requirements. Cows on Tesco farms are a number of the greatest taken care of within the UK.” Tesco considers that since a big proportion of its provider dairy farms use outside grazing, it’s applicable to make use of a picture of grazing cows to advertise its recent milk.

Dairy UK, the commerce affiliation for the UK dairy provide chain, mentioned: “The main determinant of cow well being within the UK is the standard of the administration on farms. Time spent housed or out in pasture has not been proven to be correlated with poor well being, at the very least within the UK.” It denied it was deceptive to advertise manufacturers which can comprise milk from zero-grazing techniques with photographs of cows in fields.

Within the authorities’s meals technique, the Division for Surroundings Meals and Rural Affairs (Defra) dedicated to seek the advice of on bettering and increasing obligatory animal welfare labelling. A Defra spokesperson mentioned: “All cattle are protected by complete animal well being, welfare and environmental laws throughout the Animal Welfare Act 2006.”

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