Supporting Better Dairy


Photo credit Supporting Better Dairy

Did you know that while specific European Union (EU) regulations exist to safeguard other farm animals, dairy cows have no such protection? This means that welfare standards vary greatly across the EU, with some dairy cows suffering from poor health, inadequate housing and lack of access to pasture. ‘Supporting Better Dairy’, a collaboration between leading animal welfare charities Compassion in World Farming, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), along with ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, has today launched a campaign to improve standards for dairy cows across Europe.

Actress Joanna Lumley is supporting the launch of this unique partnership which sees NGOs and companies working together with the public to influence EU policy to make European cows happy cows. The campaign will run the first ever animal welfare European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), allowing EU citizens to propose new legislation for improving standards for Europe’s 23 million dairy cows.

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Photo credit Supporting Better Dairy

Joanna said, “Within animal welfare concerns, there is specific legislation that looks after laying hens, pigs and meat chickens, but dairy cows have slipped through the net; there is no legislation just for them. I’m supporting The Better Dairy campaign because I think we are under a misapprehension of how dairy cows are kept. Whilst in the UK most cows are kept outside, free to graze, this isn’t true for the whole of Europe, but it should be. I think it is very important that animal welfare organisations Compassion in World Farming and WSPA have joined up with Ben & Jerry’s to push forward legislation for diary cows. Ben & Jerry’s make fabulous ice cream and all their milk comes from happy cows, cows that graze outside and are looked after. This is possible and we are urging EU citizens to sign up and show support for better dairy.”

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s said, “The reality is that, across the European Union, welfare standards for cows vary greatly. We love cows and believe only happy cows make great ice cream but they are one of the only farm animals in Europe that don’t have specific regulations to protect them. It’s essential to create a level playing field across Europe that secures the health of our herds and the long-term sustainability of our industry.”

Suzi Morris, UK Director of the WSPA explained, “We need tougher laws to prevent vast numbers of European cows suffering painful mastitis, debilitating lameness, infertility and drastically reduced lifespans – all tragic consequences of keeping cows in poor conditions.”

Want to help?

The ECI needs to be backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least 7 of the EU’s 27 member states. Further information on the ECI can be found on the European Commission’s website.

For further information on Supporting Better Dairy and to pledge your support, please visit the

Happy Cows Campaign website.

As Joanna Lumley says, “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to speak up for our hard working dairy cows and send a direct message to Brussels that they need our protection. It’s our chance to say we con’t want to see our cows forced indoors, unable to graze in the summer fields, and to ask the EU to give them the protection they deserve. Other farm animals have specific laws, designed to guarantee a minimum welfare standard for them. Dairy cows don’t. If you believe they should, please sign the Citizen’s Initiative and help make that happen.”

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1286 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.

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