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Assessing the welfare issues of dairy cows
  1. Sean Wensley
  1. 556 Bath Road, Bristol BS4 3JZ
  1. e-mail: seanwensley{at}

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THE president of the National Farmers' Union recently suggested that the UK may benefit from more and bigger ‘super farms’ (Jowit 2012). What should the veterinary profession's position be on such farms?

In 2010, the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), in its advice to Defra (FAWC 2010), separated two key issues on dairy cow welfare in very large herds: the impact of herd size; and housing all year round with little or no access to grazing. On large herd size, it concluded that, with provisos, there are few disadvantages to the cow. On permanent housing, it stated that further research was required to establish the …

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