Dairy cows - what are we doing?
We're working in many different ways to give dairy cattle a better quality of life.
Our welfare standards for dairy cows
We encourage dairy producers to adopt our Welfare Standards for Dairy Cattle, which set out how we believe dairy cows should be managed and cared for in order to ensure their welfare needs are met.
These standards are developed by our Farm Animals Department, based on scientific evidence and practical farming experience. All dairy producers on the RSPCA Assured farm assurance scheme must adhere to them.
Herd health and cow comfort – which are key issues for dairy cow welfare – are priority areas within our Dairy Cattle Standards.
RSPCA Assured dairy producers are required, for example, to regularly monitor their cows’ health and to provide their cows with enough lying space and bedding to maximise their lying comfort.
Our Farm Animals Department advocates for improved dairy cow welfare through its membership on a number of multi-stakeholder working groups and committees.
For example, we're a member of the Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG) which seeks to prioritise, coordinate and assess the impact of national activities which relate to improving cattle health and welfare in Great Britain.
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 assessment protocols help farm assurance schemes to better assess the level of animal welfare being achieved on their members' 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 have been developed for, to date.