Guernsey achieves first RSPCA Assured dairy farm

Guernsey achieves first RSPCA Assured dairy farm

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James Watts Dairy Cows

We’re thrilled to announce that Meadow Court Farm is the first dairy farm on Guernsey to become RSPCA Assured. The farm’s dedication and commitment to farm animal welfare will now not only be felt by the animals but also assured to the public as their products carry our mark of assurance.

Farms can only use our logo once we have ensured that every aspect of their animals’ lives, from feed and water and living conditions to healthcare and transport is covered. 

James Watts from Meadow Court Farm who has spent years focusing on animal welfare said: “It is important for consumers to know that our cows are well looked after, and the RSPCA Assured scheme provides that reassurance. It’s the highest standard a dairy farm can attain, so we are extremely proud of this achievement. My whole career has been focused on looking after our herd better. As a result, we have fewer health issues year on year, which has reduced our annual vet and medicine bills.”

What do RSPCA Assured assessors look for when accrediting a farm?
Our assessors need to see that the cows have outdoor access and that any buildings they use are well-ventilated with lots of fresh air. They should also be provided with brushes to scratch on and comfortable, clean beds. Any specific needs 

Jo And Guernsey Cows

of the calves must also be met. To achieve RSPCA Assured standards, all of these provisions must be well documented and records maintained.

Mr Watts also said that in addition to being more productive, having healthier cows ultimately improves the quality and taste of the milk. “The RSPCA Assured certification acknowledges that we farm in a good way. Although it was quite onerous initially, it has become routine and just part of the way we work, so it should now be a lot easier. We provide our cows with a carefully balanced diet throughout the year, to meet the nutritional demands relevant to their level of milk production. From mid-April through to mid-October, grazed grass forms part of this diet, so cows spend around six months of the year going out in the fields. If there is any unseasonal weather over that time, we let 

them stay inside where it is more comfortable and sheltered.”

All dairy farms on Guernsey will be RSPCA Assured
While Meadow Court Farm is the first to carry our logo on its milk, all Guernsey dairy farms are in the process of becoming RSPCA Assured. After this, Guernsey Dairy will then be able to use our eye-catching logo on its milk cartons.

Alex Tielles is Guernsey Dairy Quality and Compliance Manager and he had this to say:

Guernsey Cows

“Local farmers are passionate about the welfare of their Guernsey cows. They are all working extremely hard to achieve this certification, which has been no small challenge with the added pressures of Covid-19. James and his team at Meadow Court Farm have led the way and we are incredibly proud of their efforts. As well as ensuring the highest levels of animal welfare, RSPCA Assured certification will promote the island as a centre of farming excellence.”

States Veterinary Officer, David Chamberlain explained how good animal welfare is based on scientific evidence. “It applies to animals indoors and outdoors, on small farms or massive farms. Welfare depends on environment and the farmer’s stockmanship. Ensuring good welfare benefit more than just the animals. Well kept animals are more productive and produce higher quality milk,

which is good for the farmer and the consumer. Understanding the connection between welfare and production makes farming more efficient and profitable. The RSPCA Assured certification demonstrates that animal welfare needs are being met. Importantly for the consumer, it will enhance the quality of Guernsey milk.”

Our own, Joe Bailey, Head of Farming said: “It has been a pleasure to have worked with such a progressive team at Guernsey Dairy and States of Guernsey. Everyone has come together so cooperatively to bring this project to fruition, not just for improved welfare for the cows but also for a better working environment for those who look after them. A win for all involved.”

Date: 21 Jul 2020