October 9th, 2013
Animal welfare is a dairy-do here at Pacific. At our founder’s farms, the Holstein and Jersey dairy cows that provide us with milk for our creamy and condensed soups have come to appreciate their happy, low-key lifestyle.
These lovely ladies are what we call “bovine free thinkers.” On the farms, the cows roam freely during the day, rest in larger sleeping quarters than the industry standards, and choose for themselves when they fancy a good back scratch. (Some are rather gluttons for pampering!) But, what’s really unusual, is that the cows can decide when they want to be milked.
Voluntary milking is a new technology from Europe, designed with the animals’ comfort and welfare in mind. When a dairy cow wants to be milked, she enters a large designated milking parlor and a scanner reads her tag. A gate then opens allowing her access to a smaller milking stall that houses a robotic milking machine. The cow enjoys an organic vegetarian feed snack while the machine’s sensors find her udder and milk each quarter separately. The machine is so intuitive, it recognizes the subtle difference between the cows.
The self-milking machines are new to the Pacific Northwest, (We’re one of the first to try them out!) and they’ve attracted plenty of attention. Many other dairy farmers have come out to see how the technology works and have begun following our lead. We’re just happy to see that other dairy farms understand how important the health and welfare of the cows is to the overall quality of the milk. Happy, healthy cows live longer, too.
So raise a glass to bovine independence. You go, girls!
“The environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary. If we get the animal's emotions rights, we will have fewer problem behaviors.”- Temple Grandin