Indians concerned about dairy animals’ welfare

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

According to a World Animal Protection survey in India, the treatment of dairy cows in the country needs to improve.
According to a World Animal Protection survey in India, the treatment of dairy cows in the country needs to improve.

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A survey commissioned by World Animal Protection in India reveals that treatment of animals in dairies in India is unacceptable to almost 90% of people who responded.

With almost 300m dairy cows and buffalo, India is by far the largest dairy producer in the world.

World Animal Protection said that 90% of respondents stated they want to see better lives for the dairy animals that provide milk for them and their families.

‘Phase out local dairies’

Gajender Sharma, country director of World Animal Protection India, said it is unacceptable that animals are living in appalling conditions, which do not meet their basic needs.

He added that the results show that people want better welfare for dairy cattle, and it matters to them where their milk comes from.

Some survey findings:

Almost 90% strongly agree dairies should be closed if they don’t consider the welfare needs of dairy animals

Almost 87% think the government should introduce better welfare standards and practices to protect dairy animals

Around 90% are more likely to buy products from a company that sources from dairies adopting better animal welfare practices

3 out of 4 who regularly buy dairy products would be willing to pay 5-10% more for products from dairies offering better animal welfare

“This is why we are asking people to join us in calling on the government to end the suffering of dairy animals, by committing to phase out local dairies and ensuring better welfare standards for dairy animals in India,”​ Sharma said.

He noted that progress has been made since 2014, with the introduction of the first National Dairy Code of Practice for the Management of Dairy Animals in India, which offers guidance on humane and sustainable practices in our dairies.

“We now need to see this code implemented and enforced without delay,”​ he said.

AWBI supports action

Maj. Gen. (Dr.) R. M. Kharb, chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) said that the AWBI strongly supports adoption of better welfare practices for dairy animals in India by implementing the code.

While India is already home to the world’s largest dairy herd, numbers continue to grow. An ever increasing demand for milk is pushing productivity, and World Animal Protection said dairy cattle are being forced to produce milk in unnatural and highly stressful situations.

These animals live in overcrowded, barren conditions, causing them immense suffering and stress, the group said.  

The survey was conducted in October 2016, with 3,000 people interviewed in six cities in India: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

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