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UK Agricultural news

Wednesday 20th May 2009
Inbred Dairy cattle suffer health problems says RSPCA

The RSPCA has come out claiming that many of Britain's 2 million dairy cows are "more inbred than pedigree dogs". This leaves the animals less resistant to disease, and as a result are more likely to suffer long term health problems. Many of the cattle are also unable to reproduce or suffer lameness as a result of the inbreeding. The society states that the ever increasing demand for milk yields is causing dairy farmers to neglect the welfare of their animals.

They state that many of the cattle are never allowed outside to graze in their lives and that other diseases such as bovine viral diarrhoea and leptospirosis are also on the rise.

John Avizienius, the RSPCA's deputy head of farm animal science said that "This is a very real problem, and one that must be tackled by everyone, from farmers and retailers to us the consumer."

The society hopes to raise consumer awareness of the animals' plight and force dairy farmers to imrpove welfare standards. They urge consumers to pressure the farming industry and to inquire about the welfare of the cattle that supply the milk at their local supermarket.

The dairy industry has hit back, labelling the RSPCA's statements as "irresponsible and inacurate" and said that 95% of British dairy farmers adhered to the Assured Dairy Farms standards put in place to manage herd health. They also claim that diseases such as mastitis (an inflamation of the udder) have halved in the last 50 years.

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