Compassion in world farming believes cows belong in fields

Nocton Dairies has withdrawn their controversial plans for a ‘mega-dairy’ in Nocton, Lincolnshire.

Compassion in World Farming, the world’s leading farm animal welfare charity has campaigned vigorously against these plans.

Today is a good day in the battle against the unwanted and unwarranted industrialisation of the British Dairy industry – for which there was little appetite amongst the public, the local Nocton residents and the government appointed Environment Agency.

However – the campaign continues against the arguments for the industrialisation of dairy farming. Despite the overwhelming evidence against it, some, including Nocton Dairies are still advocating unsustainable and inhumane systems where huge numbers of cows are kept indoors for most of their lives.

This way of thinking about the UK Dairy industry is dangerous to the future livelihoods of dairy farmers, the environment and the welfare of the animals. It is not as they suggest a more sustainable model upon which to raise cows for milk – when the reality is that keeping and feeding cows on grass is a much better and more sustainable use of resources.

In addition to this, scientific evidence shows that cows who have access to pasture have better lives with fewer health problems than those who are kept indoors for the majority of the year.

Pat Thomas, Nocton Campaign Manager for Compassion in World Farming, said:

"This is a real victory for those of us who believe that cows belong in fields. Although Nocton Dairies have always tried to spin their plans for the UK's first mega-dairy as 'ambitious' and 'visionary', the submitted plans showed that they had not addressed some of the most important, and indeed fundamental, environmental and animal welfare flaws in the mega-dairy system. The response was a unequivocal 'No' from campaigners like ourselves, from the Environment Agency and Anglian

Water from local residents and indeed people all over the UK. Let's celebrate, but also let's not become complacent. Let's do all we can to make sure this system of farming is never allowed to operate in the UK."

Peter Stevenson, Chief Policy Advisor, from Compassion in World Farming, said:

“Nocton Dairies criticism of animal welfare organisations is ill-founded. Compassion in World Farming’s opposition to the proposed Nocton mega-dairy was based firmly on scientific research that shows that cows need to be given proper access to pasture in the grass-growing season and that cows pushed to very high milk yields (such as those proposed at Nocton) are susceptible to a range of serious health and welfare problems.”

In a recent survey 95% of the general public found it unacceptable to keep cows indoors permanently. More than a quarter of MPs have voiced their concerns about the industrialisation of the Dairy Industry already.

Compassion intends to build upon what is an obvious lack of enthusiasm for this unsustainable and damaging industrialisation model and seek a positive dialogue with dairy farmers, the Government and other interested parties.

Peter Stevenson from Compassion in World Farming, continued:

“This is very welcome news for animal welfare and the future of dairy farming. However we recognise that UK dairy farmers still face serious economic pressures. We call on the government to set up a multi-stakeholder forum comprising of the government, the dairy industry, supermarkets, academics and animal welfare NGO’s to plan a future for the UK dairy industry which is both economically viable for farmers and that also delivers high standards of animal welfare and avoids further attempts to industrialise the dairy industry.