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Compassionate Treatment of Dairy Cattle

The mission of the Dairy Cattle Welfare Council (DCWC) is to promote dairy cattle welfare by bringing together dairy farmers, farm employees, veterinarians, consultants, universities, and the allied dairy industry to develop best-practices with emphasis on animal well-being, management, health, productivity, husbandry, and human to animal interaction.

The DCWC recognizes the welfare of dairy animals is a paramount responsibility of farm owners, managers, employees, veterinarians, nutritionists and others who work or are involved with a dairy. Animal welfare is informed by science, applied by ethical treatment of animals in all situations, and characterized by assuring all animals on the farm have a life worth living. This includes providing for the physiologic needs of animals which include proper housing and nutrition, prevention of disease and injury as well as for their mental/emotional well-being. Such provisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Nutrition, including water, for normal growth and physiology and prevention of nutritionally associated diseases.
  • Clean and dry housing, that includes opportunity for social interaction with other cows/calves, exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Thermal comfort provided to all animals at all times.
  • Disease and injury prevention and prompt recognition of disease with appropriate treatments, including nursing care.
  • Positive human-animal interactions, compassionate and understanding of the animal’s emotional needs, and minimization of fear and distress.

The DCWC condemns any cruelty or lack of compassion shown to dairy cattle on farms. If animal cruelty is witnessed, it is the obligation of all members of the dairy community and anyone present to address it immediately. In an effort to promote continuous improvement of dairy cattle welfare, the DCWC provides a forum for the collaborative discussion of the care and welfare of dairy cattle among interested groups, including consumers and activists. The DCWC’s goal is to improve the lives of dairy cattle and to prevent egregious acts of cruelty by building knowledge, means and a culture of caring amongst the people of the dairy community.


(Position Statement adopted by the DCWC Executive Board; June, 2019)