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Posted 18 August 2010
Three years ago, Animal Aid released footage taken inside four of Britain's zero grazing dairy units. Inside the sheds, dairy cows live in almost permanent confinement with some animals never able to get outside at all.
Our report, Battery Cows: zero grazing and the dairy industry demanded answers from the government. Instead, we got platitudes and a shifting of goal posts as they tried to convince us that 'levels of stockmanship' were highest on zero grazing farms.Read what Defra had to say regarding 'levels of stockmanship'.
In fact, levels of lameness are higher in cows subjected to zero grazing regimes and, of course, the cows are unable to fulfil basic natural behaviours, like grazing.
We warned that this emerging system was a worrying sign of things to come. We wrote: 'Day in, day out, they stand in their own filth, often on lame legs or enduring painful udder infections. This is the truth of modern-day dairying and a harbinger of the future.'
That future is now here. Nocton Dairies plans to build a 3,770-cow zero grazing dairy unit in Lincolnshire and plans to expand it to 8,100 cows in 18 months time if they get the go ahead. The first planning application was withdrawn earlier this year but it is likely to be resubmitted any day now. Watch this space to find out how you can take action.