Peter Stevenson: Coalition stance on industrial dairy farms will see cows suffer

Comment

Share
Related Topics

The Conservatives, the dominant members of the Coalition Government, are traditionally the farmers' friend yet it would be unfair to accuse them of being any worse than Labour on the welfare of farm animals.

There have been positive measures and there have been black marks but they are certainly no worse than the last government and are better than we expected.

I have met Jim Paice and have found him to be someone we can have a dialogue with. However much I disagree with him on issues such as industrial dairy herds, it would be wrong to say he's insensitive to animal welfare issues. Oddly, the mutilation of hen beaks is an issue on which I would give him half a tick in the box. We are totally opposed to beak trimming, it's a dreadful practice, but compared with what might have happened, his attitude has been surprisingly positive.

The last government announced they would ban the practice in 2002 but it failed to put sufficient pressure on the industry to comply.

Rather than dropping the ban altogether, Mr Paice has set a new timetable for a ban, something Labour refused to do. Trimming hens' beaks with hot blades is still going to be banned next year; what will continue is trimming using infrared, which the industry hoped would allow them to say the procedure didn't hurt the animals – there is some scientific evidence that suggests infrared is just as painful as the blades. And it still causes distress because their natural behaviour is to peck, which trimming prevents.

One issue on which the Government has scored very badly, however, is industrial dairy herds. Mega-dairies will in all likelihood become widespread if allowed and the Government is refusing to come out against them as it should. It's galling. The cows are likely to suffer hugely and the idea of cattle that can't graze in fields is something I think most people find appalling. Similarly, the cloning of farm animals concerns us greatly and will have serious consequences for the welfare of livestock because of the stresses on their bodies. Yet the Government, in refusing to oppose the use of the offspring of cloned livestock, has in essence given the industry the message, "It's OK, chaps, you can carry on cloning."

Peter Stevenson is chief policy adviser of Compassion in World Farming

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A press image from the company  

If men are so obsessed by their genitals, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities of sex?

Chloë Hamilton
Workers clean the area in front of the new Turkish Presidential Palace prior to an official reception for Republic day in Ankara  

Up Ankara, for a tour of great crapital cities

Dom Joly
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory