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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Farmers deny 'battery cow' claim
Image of cows
CIWF claim cows suffer from intensive farming methods
Dairy farmers in Cornwall have denied claims by an animal welfare group that some of their animals are being treated like "battery cows".

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), said modern farming methods, including keeping cows in concrete pens, stressed the animals too severely.

But the National Farmers' Union (NFU) said modern methods were not cruel.

NFU spokesman Anthony Gibson said the pens were used for high yield cows, and that herds were carefully supervised.

If our cows aren't healthy and happy the first thing to happen is the milk yield will go
Neil Parkhouse, dairy farmer

Mr Gibson said the cows were kept in the pens in order to feed them regularly and they were seen by a vet every week.

He said: "It's not cruel. These are normal conditions for high yield cows.

"The price of milk for farmers has gone down by 30% in the past 10 years. Farmers have had to become more efficient and produce a higher yield.

"It does put man and beast under pressure and in an ideal world it wouldn't happen, but this is common practice. It's very efficient and the animal welfare is good."

Cow mattress

CIWF carried out undercover filming at a Cornish farm, which it said showed cattle kept inside on concrete rather than outside on grass.

Spokesman Phil Brook said the method was unnatural and could damages cows' health. He said farmers can make a profit without their stock suffering.

But Neil Parkhouse whose farm near St Austell was filmed, said the animals were well looked after.

He has a dairy herd of 200 which is housed in a shed which is 300ft by 100ft (91.4m by 30.4m).

The sheds have individual cubicles and cows slept on rubber mattress.

Mr Parkhouse said: "The cubicles are specially designed for maximum cow comfort.

"If our cows aren't healthy and happy the first thing to happen is the milk yield will go. You've got to maintain the cows' comfort to remain profitable."


SEE ALSO:
Cheese company is milking success
22 Oct 04 |  Cornwall
More funding for Cornish farmers
05 Oct 04 |  Cornwall


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