Back

This country needs to make up its mind whether it wants animal welfare or cheap food - you can't have both!

When I was an agricultural student many years ago the college shepherd was paid as a full time employee to look after the College's 160 ewes.

Today a farmer would not be able to afford an employee to look after 1600. Many farmers have 2000 to 5000 and they are often spread over other peoples farms. It is another symptom of the way things have gone in farming. As the returns diminish so farmers have increased output to stay still.

Due to movement restrictions I could not sell dairy cattle this spring and ended up with a welfare problem. It is not funny. I have just managed to move some cows thus reducing my stocking rate. Today I opened the post and I had two separate letters from Dairy Crest, my milk buyer. The first letter was updating us on Farm Assurance which includes animal welfare issues. The second letter was about a new Volume Incentive Scheme. This offered 1p a litre bonus for all litres produced above the same month last year and a further 1p for all milk over 5% more than the same month as last year. Now this is serious money! So do I go out and get more cows again??

This country needs to make up its mind whether it wants animal welfare or cheap food - you can't have both! Dairy Crest needs to stop asking producers to do two different things at the same time. My guess is that farmers will push for more milk and the animals will suffer. You can't go on increasing animal numbers indefinitely.

David

Back