Following our success in stopping the proposed mega-dairy at Nocton, Lincolnshire which had a starting herd of 3,700 increasing later to 8,000, I am absolutely dismayed by Powys County Council’s decision to allow a 1,000 cow mega-dairy at Leighton near Welshpool.
It’s extremely sad, not only for the cows involved, but also for the beautiful Welsh countryside. According to reports, the mega-dairy will be on land overlooking Powis Castle in the Severn Valley.
Cows belong in fields. Not industrial factory farms. They can live up to 20 years or more. But high yielding dairy cows typically live for just six years. Many suffer with chronic lameness, mastitis or infertility.
Cows kept outside generally have more opportunity to behave naturally; including grazing on pasture, walking freely and breathing fresh air. Cows kept indoors are more restrained. They are kept in forced ventilation. They often stand on hard concrete. They are fed a diet with more concentrate in it which often leads to digestive problems.
To learn more about the welfare of cattle and mega-dairies, please visit our website.
Because cows belong in fields and not in mega-dairies, Compassion believes the Powys dairy is nothing short of a backward step; not only for dairy cow welfare, but for dairy farmers too.
Britain’s dairy farming remains a largely pasture-based business. There is no need for it to follow the US mega-dairy route. I believe that farming and food industry interests must work together with government and consumer groups to ensure Britain’s dairy industry continues to use more humane, economic and sustainable principles. A dairy ‘arms race’ which pushes cows ever harder in pursuit of lower costs is a bad route for cow welfare and a road to nowhere for the future of dairy farming.
We will continue our campaign to keep dairy cows in fields. And will continue to oppose applications for mega-dairies. I’m pleased to say that we recently opposed a mega-dairy in Carmarthen which it was feared locally could expand to as many as 3,000 zero-grazed cows. This application was withdrawn.
To learn more about our campaign against mega-dairies and all forms of factory farming, please visit our new campaign Filthy Business.