New standards for Swiss dairy

From July 2019 new industry standards for milk will apply for Swiss dairy farmers. The industry organisation for milk (BOM) has published the 10 criteria that must be met. In the area of animal welfare, farmers must meet five requirements in the future, BOM states:

  • The cows must either participate in the Regular Outdoor Run (RAUS) programme and/or the Pet-friendly Stable Farming (BTS) programme. According to the Swiss milk producers (SMP), 83% of farms currently participate in RAUS and 37% in BTS.
  • The minimum holding period for calves is 21 days for all born calves.
  • The cows must be milked at least twice a day.
  • Animal keepers participating in shows and exhibitions must comply with the regulations of the Association of Swiss Cattle Breeders (ASR).
  • Slaughter cows should not be pregnant.

When feeding, BOM sets two guidelines:

  • When soybean meal is used, it must come from sustainable sources.
  • The dairy cow feed must not contain palm fat or palm oil.

The other requirements concern the following areas:

  • The farmer may not use critical antibiotics that are controversial because of possible resistance formation without a doctor’s order.
  • The ecological performance certificate (ÖLN) must be fulfilled. This is already a prerequisite for the receipt of direct payments.
  • Each cow must have a name.

There will also be additional requirements, which the farmers can choose two requirements from. These additional criteria will be defined by a working group over the next few weeks.

It also defines what processing and trade requirements will be met to meet the standards. In addition, regulations including sanctions must be worked out and decided as to how hardship cases are assessed at RAUS.

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