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Waitrose pledges 100 day grazing for dairy cows

Thursday February 4th 2016

Waitrose has pledged that dairy cows producing conventional milk for the supermarket will spend at least 100 days a year outside grazing in fields.

Already one of the only supermarkets to give its dairy cows access to pasture during the grazing season in the summer months, Waitrose said the new pledge will set a minimum standard for its British farmers.

Heather Jenkins, Waitrose director of agriculture and meat, fish and dairy buying, said: “We've always required our farmers to graze their dairy herds outside but this move puts in place a minimum benchmark of at least 100 days a year. We're proud of our commitment and proud of our dairy farmers for the support they have given us with this move to a formal standard.

“Getting dairy cows outside and on grass pasture whenever possible not only produces great quality milk but is a key aspect of good animal welfare, something we believe is of the utmost importance.”

Waitrose has recently been confirmed as a Tier One leader in the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare for the second year running. The supermarket also won Compassion in World Farming's Good Dairy Award in 2011 and the CiWF Retailer of the Year award for the sixth time in 2015.

Brian Barnett, chair of the Waitrose Dairy Farmers Group, said: “The Waitrose milk producer group has been working closely with Waitrose for many years and over this time we have developed a producer scheme which reflects the Waitrose values and those of the Waitrose customer. Grazing cattle has always been important to us and we are pleased to be able to embed this requirement as a benchmark for our milk supply group.”