31 Jul


Since H.A.W.A began we have a tremendous response to our education campaign and articles (Thank you to all for your support). However we have had a few questions regarding Animal products which are Halal for us and how Tayyib is compromised such as Milk/ Dairy products and Fish farming.

As Muslims Dairy products and Fish/ water inhabitant animals are Halal for us with the exception of crocodile, alligator and frogs (Some Muslims also view crab and prawns as haram to consume) (ICV 2019, M. Ibn Adam 2017), but just like meat products supply and demand is extremely high within these industries which compromises Animal Welfare and Tayyib standards.

Dairy Farming and Tayyib concerns:

Dairy cows produce milk for around 10 months a year with a 2-month rest. On Average the cows produce 22 litres of milk per day in the UK, during high lactation periods up to 60 litres. Dairy cows usually give birth to a calve once a year, they are then artificially inseminated again around three months after giving birth.

The cows have high milk production rates for around 3 to 4 year, once they start to drop milk yield, quality, infertility or suffer from diseases such as lameness, they will be slaughtered and if the meat is suitable, sold for beef, despite a healthy cow who is not subjected to so much demand being able to live up to 20 years.

Intensive dairy farming results in an increasing number of Tayyib concerns for dairy cows.

The cows experience long periods of confinement in indoor housing, health problems occurring due to demand for higher milk yields and distress caused by early separation from their calves.

In commercial dairy farming calves are taken away from their mother at times within hours of birth. Naturally they would suckle for a year and bond with their mother. The separation so early on in life and placing the calf into unnatural social environments can have a long-term effect on their physical and social development.

The majority of dairy cows are kept indoors for part or all of the year, they will likely be housed if weather conditions are bad. Because of this , the Cows do not have the capability to perform natural behaviours and get enough exercise compared to when they are at pasture. Farms are required to abide by the Animal Welfare act 2002, along with other regulations and guidance for farm animals such as The Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulation 2007 (UK GOV 2007).  

However a lot of the guidelines even with industry approval, are just that. Guidelines or standards set by private companies to obtain a seal of approval for a product, but they are not the Law. Farmers will push the boundaries as much as they can to obtain a high yield while given basic animal needs. Good housing design, management and husbandry are essential for good Animal welfare. Crowded conditions, poor ventilation and high humidity increase the risk of injury and disease which will disrupt production (CIWF n.d).

Rest is key for Dairy cows, especially during lactation just like it is for a nursing mother and they require space to lie down. Cows which are kept inside in cubicles on concrete floors with uncomfortable or inadequate bedding will be more likely to develop infections such as MASTITIS **. Housing with hard flooring can increase pain for LAME** cows with bacterial conditions such as hoof lesions, digital dermatitis or sole ulcers.

In some Dairy units the cows also experience Tethering. They are kept in tie-stalls, which involve further confinement. The cows are tied up by either a chain, stanchion (metal bars) or rope tied around the neck, for up to 24 hours a day throughout her life. (EFSA 2009). Tie-stalls restrict every aspect of cows’ behaviour and really push the boundaries of the Animal Welfare Act 5 Animal Needs (RSPCA 2019).

Cows need access to pasture with plenty of space and opportunity to graze. This is important for their physical and mental well-being, and their ability to perform natural behaviours. In the UK most dairy cows still have daytime access to grazing on pasture in summer, but more cows are being kept indoors for longer, or even all year round. This is known as ‘zero grazing’ and is increasingly used for large and high-yielding herds worldwide.

Cows in organic systems receive a diet higher in fibre and have access to pasture during the grazing season.

In the US, many dairy cows are injected regularly with growth hormones (rBST) to increase milk yield. This is illegal in the EU.

What happens to the Male calves?

Most female calves will be reared to join the milking herd, but as male calves cannot produce milk, they are considered surplus to the dairy industry. Male calves will either be shot after birth or sold to be reared for veal or beef.

Calves destined for the meat industry may be transported for several days over long distances by road and/ship, to rearing facilities which may be in different countries. This is very stressful, and calves may be transported when only a week old. Although there are now calls to ban this from the UK in parliament. In April 2018, Defra issued a six week call for evidence on controlling live exports for slaughter and to improve animal welfare during transport after the UK leaves the EU on behalf of the UK Government and Devolved Administrations. This is now being reviewed by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee, which is expected to report in due course. (UK GOV 2019)

Although within the Animal Science industry research is constantly being conducted using modern technology to try and improve conditions for Dairy cows while maintaining yield for supply and demand we must ask ourselves as Muslims if these conditions are necessary for our continuous consumption and compromise the command we were given to consume what is Halal AND TAYYIB.

**Lameness is a significant welfare problem for dairy cows worldwide. Cows may go lame due to contracting bacterial infections ( such as hoof lesions, sole ulcers, laminitis and digital dermatitis) due to poor quality floors, ineffective foot trimming, poor nutrition and prolonged standing on concrete floors.

**Mastitis, inflammation of the udder due to a bacterial infection (The same as in breastfeeding women). A cow’s udder can become infected with mastitis-causing bacteria due to contamination of milking equipment or bedding. Cows that are housed / crated for long periods of time are more likely to develop mastitis than those kept at pasture (Brinkmann et al 2017).

**Cow infertility is a major productivity problem for farmers with high-yielding dairy cows. It can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, stress and poor body condition; therefore it is often a sign of poor welfare.


Shayk Adam. M.I (2017) The Fiqh of Halal and Haram Animals [online]


Brinkmann. J, Hinterstoisser. P, March.S, Marten.H.P, Schiler.M, Wagner. K and Warnecke. S (2007) Impact of Daily Grazing Time on Dairy Cow Welfare- Results of the Welfare Quality Protocol 

Animals (Basel). 2018 Jan; 8(1): 1.

Compassion in World Farming. No Date. Farm Animal; About Dairy Cows. [online] https://www.ciwf.org.uk/farm-animals/cows/dairy-cows/

European Food Safety Authority (2009) Scientific report on the effects of farming systems on dairy cow welfare and disease [ online]


Islamic Council of Victoria (2019)What is Halal – A guide for non-Muslims [online] https://www.icv.org.au/about/about-islam-overview/what-is-halal-a-guide-for-non-muslims/

RSPCA. No Date. Animal Welfare [online]


UK GOV (2007) The Welfare of Farmed Animal (England) Regulations [online]


UK GOV (2019) Live Animal Exports. House of commons library. [online] https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8031

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