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Improving the lives of dairy cows

We're working in many different ways to give dairy cattle a better quality of life.

Developing welfare standards for dairy cows

We encourage dairy producers to follow our Welfare Standards for Dairy Cattle, which set out how we believe dairy cows should be managed and cared for in order to keep them healthy and happy.

These standards are developed by our Farm Animals Department, based on scientific evidence and practical farming experience. All dairy producers on the RSPCA Assured scheme must adhere to them.

Herd health and cow comfort are priorities in our Dairy Cattle Standards. RSPCA Assured dairy producers are required, for example, to regularly monitor their cows' health and to provide them with enough space and bedding to keep them comfortable when they're lying down.

Advocacy work

We advocate for better dairy cow welfare through membership on a number of working groups and committees. For example, we're a member of the Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG), which aims to prioritise, coordinate and assess the impact of national activities related to improving cattle health and welfare in Great Britain.

Research projects

We were a founding member of the AssureWel Project, alongside the Soil Association and the University of Bristol. The project aimed to improve the welfare of farm animals, including dairy cows, by developing welfare outcome assessment protocols for use during farm assurance scheme assessments.

These protocols help farm assurance schemes to better assess the level of animal welfare their members are achieving on their farms. It also gives them a way to measure how successfully their welfare standards are being put into use. Welfare outcome assessments are undertaken as part of RSPCA Assured farm assessments for the species they've been developed for.

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