The intensification of dairy farming is a concern to many. The big idea? A new method of dairy farming that keeps the calves with their mothers to suckle. The ethical dairy model is based around treating the animals, the land, our environment and the people who work here with respect and kindness.
In traditional dairy farms calves are removed from their mothers within a few hours of their birth - the stress this places on the cow is clear. The Ethical Dairy Company wanted to find a way to keep calves with the cows and still have a financially viable farm. Put simply, They didn’t want to have to choose between doing what’s right and staying in business.
As an organic dairy farm for more than twenty years, their cows have already benefitted from some of the highest welfare standards in the UK. They built a new dairy, specially designed to house calves with their mothers, and trialled the full cow with calf system for the first time in 2012. It taught them a lot but also cost them a lot financially.
However, the impact it made on cow contentment was staggering. All the animals were noticeably calmer and far more confident. After two to three months the calves became like teenagers, they loved playing with their pals and really only came back to mum when they wanted food!
We wanted to support this radical new model of dairy farming work, and by purchasing cheese from The Ethical Dairy you are helping to support it.
The Ethical Journey So Far
Since October 2016 our calves have stayed with their mothers for 5 to 6 months. We still milk them in that period, but only once a day.
Whilst still in the early stages of The Ethical Dairy project, the new approach to dairy farming has already led to huge reductions in the use of antibiotics, increases in biodiversity and healthier, happier cows. Compared to an average dairy farm, already The Ethical Dairy has:
Cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than half
Reduced energy use by more than half
Cut antibiotic use by 90%
Cut agro-chemical use by 90%
Doubled the productive life of cows
Increased our farm biodiversity five-fold
Increased the net amount of food in our food system by 80%