With a view on welfare, an international animal welfare organisation, World Animal Protection (WAP) have launched the 'Better Dairy campaign', which gives the public more insight into where dairy products come from and how well the animals were treated.
The campaign was started because many dairy animals face cruelty every day – it relates to unacceptable conditions in urban and peri-urban dairies.
India is estimated to have over 299 million cattle, of which 50 million milk animals suffer the worst cruelty in urban and peri-urban dairies.
What is in your milk and whether dairy companies are taking care of basic welfare of dairy animals?" - Gajender K Sharma, World Animal Protection India.
Speaking on this, World Animal Protection India Country director Gajender K Sharma said, "With the Better Dairy campaign, we wanted to raise two pertinent questions - What is in your milk and whether dairy companies are taking care of basic welfare of dairy animals?"
We ;have received a good response and over 1,600 people in the capital city came forward to support the Better Dairy campaign.
The campaign started in October 2019 and to-date over 70,000 people have signed the online petition and given their support.
Re-locating dairies to outside city limits
Sharma further added that millions of animals are facing unimaginable cruelty in these urban and peri-urban dairies that are in our cities. We urge the government to shift these dairies outside the city limits so these animals get more space, better feed, water, and a better life.
Recently, the Bombay High Court ordered a shift of all dairy animals in Dapchari, near Dahanu, in the Palghar district, about 140km away from the city. Close to 20,000 dairy animals will be moved.
This shift ends a 15-year court battle between the Bombay Milk Producer Association and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).
A supporter of Better Dairy campaign said that steps need to be taken to ensure that dairy animals get food, water, and shelter. Clean drinking water should be provided to dairy animals and all the dairies should have proper open space.
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Treatment within urban/peri-urban dairies
Regarding how the dairy animals are treated in urban and peri-urban dairies, Sharma said that animals are often confined to large dark rooms without windows or natural light, some are kept in rooms where they can barely move, they lie in their own faeces all day without access to clean water, good quality feed or any healthcare.
Dairy companies signed up to campaign
Till now, 6 dairy companies have signed a formal commitment that they will not source milk from urban and peri-urban dairies, but much needs to be done as many major companies and are still reluctant to commit to practising better dairy techniques.
So far, with the efforts of this campaign, 526,000 animals are provided with clean water, open space and proper feed and medicine. The international animal charity is also working closely with dairy companies to ensure that milk is not sourced from urban and peri-urban dairies.
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