Several years ago I read about Ben & Jerry’s Caring Dairy Programme, which was launched in the Netherlands in 2003. This is a collaborative project involving Ben & Jerry’s, dairy farmers, cheese makers, research centres and the World Wide Fund for Nature. The programme set out 11 key indicators of sustainability for dairy farming.

Now Ben & Jerry’s have joined forces with The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), to call for an EU Directive on dairy cow welfare. Although there are rules on the welfare of pigs and chickens in EU countries, there are currently no specific rules on dairy cow welfare.

Ben & Jerry’s are calling for rules in relation to:

  • Good housing
  • Good feeding
  • Good health
  • Appropriate behaviour

Under good housing they state that “Cows and replacement heifers should have daily access to grazing in the grass growing season and shelter against extreme weather” and they go on to say that appropriate behaviour should mean “The yield potential should not limit the behavioural repertoire of the lactating cow (there should be time for exercise, grazing and socialising) or her ability to sustain milk production off a grass based diet without experiencing digestive problems or excessive loss of body condition due to high yields”.

Sounds like they want to see lots of free range cows!

To find out more visit

Leave a Reply