Dairy animal welfare needs to be improved by the Indian Government

25 November 2016

We’re urging the Indian Government to improve the lives of millions of dairy cows and buffalo, after our latest opinion poll revealed overwhelming support for better dairy welfare standards

Almost 90% of the 3,000 people we recently surveyed in India said the cruel treatment of animals in local dairies is unacceptable. This fascinating insight shows the strong public support for better protection of dairy animals across India.

With almost 300 million dairy cows and buffalo, India is by far the largest dairy producer in the world. Improving welfare standards there would improve the lives of countless animals. 

Suffering and deprivation in illegal dairies

Almost half of respondents were unaware that millions of animals are kept in illegal, unregulated dairies in Indian cities and suburbs. The animals suffer in barren and unsanitary conditions, often tied up their whole lives, and deprived of basic needs such as access to clean water and food.

The survey also revealed:

  • almost 90% of people surveyed strongly agreed that dairies should be closed if they don’t consider the welfare needs of dairy animals
  • almost 87% think the government should intervene, and enforce better welfare standards and practices
  • nearly 90% are more likely to buy products from companies that source from dairies adopting better animal welfare practices
  • three out of four who regularly buy dairy brands, would be willing to pay 5-10% more for products that come from dairies offering better animal welfare.

Urging the Indian Government to protect dairy animals

It’s India’s National Milk Day tomorrow, November 26, and the survey results have prompted us, on, to call on the Government to demand better welfare for dairy animals.

Without intervention, millions more dairy animals will be kept in cramped indoor conditions, denied their basic freedoms.

Dairy animals, like all animals, have the right to be free from suffering.

Gajender Sharma, our country director in India, says:

"It’s unacceptable that animals are living in appalling conditions, where their basic needs are not met. These results show that people want better welfare for our dairy cattle, and it matters to them where their milk comes from."

In 2014 we introduced the first National Dairy Code of Practice for the Management of Dairy Animals in India, which offers guidance on humane and sustainable practices in Indian dairies. 

Maj. Gen. (Dr.) R. M. Kharb, chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) says:

"AWBI strongly supports the adoption of better welfare practices for dairy animals in India. Implementing guidelines from the National Code of Practice, developed by the National Dairy Research Institute, in partnership with World Animal Protection, will help dairy animals live happier, healthier and more productive lives."

The Code must be implemented and enforced as soon as possible. The survey results, as well as advice from the Animal Welfare Board of India, only reinforce its urgent need.

Learn more about how we’re improving the lives of billions of farm animals.

"These results show that people want better welfare for our dairy cattle, and it matters to them where their milk comes from." - Gajender Sharma, our country director in India
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