Unsure of what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to the dairy industry?
NO. The size of a farm does not affect the well-being of cows.
FACT: Dairy farms – whether large or small – make animal care a top priority. Farmers care for their cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions because they depend on the animals for their own livelihood. It’s typical for farmers to spend the majority of their operating costs on the care of their cows.
FACT: Research shows that cows need to be calm, happy, comfortable and well fed to make high quality milk. Cow comfort includes soft bedding like water beds, misting cows in the summer to keep them cool, new options for feeding so that cows are well-fed, and reducing noise to keep cows calm including playing music in barns.
FACT: To prevent antibiotics from entering the milk supply, the FDA requires that every single truckload of milk – organic and conventional – be tested for antibiotics upon delivery at the dairy processing plant. Any milk that tests positive cannot be sold to the public. The farmer responsible for the contaminated milk is fined and could lose his or her license to sell milk.
FACT: In March 2015, the FDA released the results of an extensive survey that confirmed that the checks and balances of America’s milk safety system are effective at preventing drug residues from reaching consumers.
FACT: Banning or severely restricting the use of antibiotics in animals can negatively impact a veterinarian’s ability to protect animal health and prevent animal suffering, which can lead to poor animal welfare and poor quality milk.
BUSTED. Increases in milk production per cow allow farmers to be more efficient with the resources of land, water, fossil fuels and fertilizers thereby promoting environmental stewardship.
FACT: Greenhouse gas emissions per unit of food produced decreases as per cow milk production increases, according to Cornell research by Dr. Dale E. Bauman.
FACT: Anaerobic digester systems recycle manure into clean, renewable electricity to power the farm, nearby homes and businesses.
FACT: Many farms, organic and conventional, have been adopting many regenerative and environmentally-friendly farming practices including planting cover crops, which grow through the winter, to protect the soil and water quality.