Dairy Farmers Focus On Cow Care Regardless Of Animal Activists
Farmers have always taken care of their animals. As the old saying goes: “If you take care of your cows, your cows will take care of you.” Still, as animal activist activity has risen over the past decade, farmers are being more intentional than ever with animal health protocols and procedures.
A recent MILK Intelligence survey of producers milking 500+ cows shows 79% of farmers have increased their focus on animal welfare over the past five years.
Similarly, 74% of the respondents say they have reduced their use of antibiotics over the same time frame. “We watch the people that work with the cows very closely, and also train them according to their job description to not abuse the animals,” one producer says.
In fact, 70% of the producers who responded to the survey require their employees to sign an animal welfare policy. While the threat of being the target of the next animal activist video is real, producers still welcome consumers to their farms and 64% allow visitors to take photos and videos.
“Since we process, package and market a portion of our production, we get many visitors—individuals, families and groups,” one respondent says. “Our policy is that, while we’d prefer that these people are escorted, in reality we just can’t make that happen every time.”
The large majority of the producers surveyed, 80%, participate in National Milk Producers’ FARM program. Even so, 62% of them agree the strict guidelines did not change the way they manage their dairies.