Dear donors, friends and supporters,

We did it! The Dutch House of Representatives has voted in favour of calves remaining for longer periods with their mothers. The House of Representatives accepted a motion made by the Dutch Political Party of the Animals requesting that a plan be drafted to put this idea into practice.

A dairy industry where calves are not taken away right after birth, but left with their mother for at least a few months until a more natural weaning age, has been one of our main focuses since 2011. We dedicated a lot of time visiting dairy farms, cull-cow livestock markets and slaughterhouses and trailing livestock trucks transporting young calves. In 2014 we published a summary of these findings in our report called ‘Giving milk a good shake’. We were also interviewed on the famous Dutch TV show RADAR, along with a couple of dairy farmers we met that did keep the calves in the herd. Since then we have met with many retailers to urge them to stock calf-friendlier milk and give a premium to those farmers supplying it. We are now also planning a conference for dairy farmers to share practical and innovative ideas on how to improve calf-welfare.

In order to produce milk for consumers, cows are kept regularly pregnant and their calves are taken away from them within minutes to several hours after birth. The calves then spend several weeks all alone in individual boxes and are fed with a liquid made of milk-powder. Not only is this experience traumatic for mother and calf, it is also compromising the calfs' health and social development. After a few weeks male calves and 25% of the female calves are brought to a fattening factory-farm where they remain in barren pens. Last week media reported that calves that are born small are often killed because they are financially worthless.

We feel strongly that this decision of the Dutch House Representatives will lead to a structural and positive change within the dairy industry. We will not stop until we achieved our goal: a dairy industry were calves are raised by their mothers and farmers be rewarded for producing healthier and happier calves. Will you keep supporting our work?

With best wishes,

Your Eyes on Animals team

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