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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Accounts Assistant, Hammersmith

£25000 per annum: Charter Selection: Exciting sports company with a strong bra...

Contract Pipe Fitter - Stainless Steel

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I have a contract Pipe Fitter role avail...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Executive Assistant - London - up to £40,000 + bonus

£33000 - £40000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assista...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The daily catch-up: Neigh-Drama Obama, changing welfare and how to tell if you are a journalist

John Rentoul
 

i Editor's Letter: Only a game? Far from it

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil