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Dairy cattle - what are we doing?

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

RSPCA welfare standards for dairy cattle

We develop the RSPCA welfare standards for dairy cattle, which cover the key areas effecting dairy cattle welfare and are intended to represent ‘best practice’ in the care and welfare of dairy cattle. The standards are used within the Freedom Food scheme.

Engaging with decision makers

We take every opportunity to put forwards our views and raise awareness for dairy cattle welfare. As part of this our scientific staff represent our views on government and industry cattle committees, such as the Cattle Health and Welfare Group, the Genetics Advisory Forum, The Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy and the Dairy Cattle Foot Health Group. We also co-sponsored the National Cattle Mobility Event held at Harper Adams College to raise awareness of cattle lameness problems, and present solutions.

Beyond Calf Exports Stakeholders Forum

One week old calf © RSPCA Photolibrary

In 2006, the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming organised a forum with leading stakeholders (e.g. retailers, the dairy industry and government) to find practical ways to ensure that more male dairy calves are reared under higher welfare conditions in the UK. The work is ongoing and we hope there will be an increase in the number of calves going into the UK beef chain and fewer calves being killed soon after birth on-farm or being transported long distances to the continent. A number of retailers have taken encouraging steps to address these issues. 

Find out how you can help to improve the lives of dairy cattle.

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