Feature Explores Issue of Dairy Cow Welfare

The New York Times published a feature exploring the issue of whether dairy farming is inherently cruel to cows. Declining demand for dairy products in recent years, coupled with animal rights activists’ accusations of poor treatment of cows, has made the climate difficult for dairy farmers. This feature discusses the issue from the angle of small-scale dairy farmers, animal-welfare researchers in academia, and activist organizations. Producers such as Hawthorne Valley Farm offer examples of dairy practices designed with animal well-being in mind, such as pasture access, no dehorning, and keeping cows with their calves. Although these strategies may not be practical for all operations, many agree that practices that promote animal well-being could readily be implemented in dairy farming.