The Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals is extremely concerned about the plans to introduce Zero Grazing industrial style dairy farms to the UK.
Already, there are plans for three huge units in the English countryside. So far, they have encountered fierce resistance from campaigners who say they hugely compromise animal welfare with cattle denied the opportunity to follow natural behaviour patterns. They also produce vast amounts of slurry and gas which are not only bad for the environment but also represent a health risk for those humans who live near the plant.
At present, the average size of a dairy herd is somewhere between 70-120 cows which spend a good part of their day grazing in fields. However, as supermarkets push for cheaper milk, British farmers are finding it more and more difficult to compete with cheaper foreign imported milk. In 1998 there were 31,753 dairy farmers in the UK. By 2008 there were 17,060.
In Lincolnshire, Nocton Dairies Ltd proposed a huge dairy unit for 8,100 cows. The animals would be milked three times a day instead of the usual two. They would be kept inside in a ‘zero grazing’ system. The application received hundreds of complaints and was withdrawn. However, Nocton are expected to re-apply in the very near future. During a Radio interview, a spokesperson for Nocton made the amazing statement that ‘cows do not belong in fields’.
We urge all ASWA members to contact Compassion in World Farming, Animal Aid or Viva! – all of whom are running campaigns against these industrial dairy units. We urge you to write to your MP in opposition, particularly if you live in the Lincolnshire area.
The developers behind the proposed mega-dairy at Nocton have now put a new application for a farm half the size. However, it will still be the largest dairy farm this country has ever seen, with 3,700 cows spending the majority of their lives indoors, with little or no access to pasture.
What is worse is the fact that the developers have already said that they plan to increase to the original 8,100 cow unit once they have permission for the smaller unit. In other words, nothing has really changed.
That is why it is more important than ever to object. We have until the 11 January. None of the previous objections will count. If this mega-dairy goes ahead it will open the floodgates for similar animal prisons across the UK. We have to act – and we have to act now! Object today – and ask everyone you know to do likewise.
Animal Aid – www.animalaid.org.uk
(Animal Aid have produced an excellent downloadable report on this issue)
Compassion in World Farming – www.ciwf.org