Guernsey's dairy industry receives full RSPCA Assured seal of approval
21 February 2022
The "RSPCA Assured" scheme is the RSPCA's ethical food label and covers every aspect of farm animal welfare. It is the only farm assurance scheme in the UK dedicated purely to farm animal welfare, which specifies that the animals are well cared for throughout their lives and enjoy a high quality of life.
"Guernsey Dairy's accreditation is the culmination of a project started several years ago," said managing director, Andrew Tabel. "It was first necessary for all the island's dairy farms to be RSPCA Assured before the Dairy and subsequently Guernsey milk, could be certified.
"Having the RSPCA Assured logo on our packaging will reassure customers that Guernsey milk is produced and packaged to higher animal welfare standards and acknowledges the investment the industry has made in achieving this. Everyone involved in the island's dairy farming industry and the wider community should be extremely proud of this."
The accreditation permits the Dairy to use the RSPCA Assured logo on all its milk packaging reassuring customers that Guernsey milk is produced to higher animal welfare standards.
Guernsey Dairy is just one of two suppliers in the British Isles to offer 100% RSPCA Assured milk to its customers.
Michael Bray, president of Guernsey Farmers Association, said: "Working with the Dairy we began this journey some two years ago. Meadow Court Farm and Varioufs Farm were the first to receive their accreditations with the final farm achieving its certification in the autumn last year.
"It is the highest standard a dairy farm can attain so it is a massive achievement."
All members of the charity scheme will continue to be assessed every year to ensure the higher welfare standards are being met.
Joe Bailey, Head of farming at RSPCA Assured, said: "We're really impressed by how hard everyone involved has worked to bring about this major achievement for dairy cow welfare.
"Not only does it mean that many more animals will benefit from being cared for to the RSPCA's higher welfare standards but consumers in Guernsey can now be extra confident that the milk they are buying is higher welfare. Now that really is something to celebrate!"
Not only can Guernsey Dairy now carry the RSPCA Assured logo on all its milk cartons, but it will be joined by the recently awarded Great Taste logo obtained by the Dairy last autumn.
There are more than 300 standards that have to be met by a farm before the milk can be labelled RSPCA Assured. These standards cover the entire life of the animal and have both cow and calf health and comfort at heart. They include:
- Cows must have plenty of space and enough bedding so they can lie down and get up comfortably;
- They must have access to pasture as often as the weather permits;
- Cow brushes must be installed in all housing so they can groom themselves and environmental enrichment for calves must be provided from six weeks of age onwards;
- A review of any health problems, such as mastitis and lameness, must take place at least four times a year with the farm vet;
- Cows must have access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and promote a positive state of wellbeing.
All RSPCA Assured dairy farms receive annual assessments by specially trained assessors to ensure the RSPCA's strict welfare standards can be met and may also receive additional unannounced checks by an RSPCA farm livestock officer.
Mr Tabel said: "We are extremely proud, not only of the great taste of Guernsey milk but other contributing factors, such as the environment, health and high animal welfare standards that are met. RSPCA Assured provides an independent guarantee which helps promote the island as a centre of farming excellence, our milk is 100% locally-produced and the journey from grass to glass is just a few miles.
"Islanders have always appreciated the great taste of Guernsey milk, which is something we are very proud of. However, consumers are more knowledgeable and conscious of other factors, such as the environment, health, knowing where the products come from and that they are ethically produced.
"Our main aim is to ensure the Dairy continues to act as an economic enabler to dairy farmers, preserve the Guernsey countryside, its traditional farming heritage and protect the iconic Guernsey cattle breed."
For more information about RSPCA Assured go to: www.rspcaassured.org.uk.