Animals' Angels is again with the German 'Milk'cows' in Qatar. One and a half years ago they were flown here into the desert. Together with cows from Hungary, the Netherlands and the USA they are supposed to provide the population in Qatar with dairy products. By now, there are already 14,000 cows living on the huge facility, soon there will be up to 40,000 animals.
A lot has changed since our last visit. At first glance, the company is transparent and open with its mega-project. For example, a visitor hall was erected from which one of the six milking carousels can be observed. Per carousel 100 cows can be milked at the same time. Information boards and films inform visitors about the various production steps as well as the successes and goals of the mega milk farm.
Unfortunately, however, all the marketing has forgotten to talk about the most important protagonists and their needs: the cows. Why the cows actually give milk and what happens to their calves is silently ignored. Productivity and efficiency are the focus here – not the animals.
Of course, great importance is attached to good management, decent care for the animals and high hygiene standards. The cows that we can observe in the milking carousel also look quite ok on the outside – we sometimes know quite different pictures from the EU. But it is not a cow's life in these ultra-modern, closed and dreary facilities. Where are the green pastures, the fresh air and the pleasantly cool temperatures they actually like?
We try to talk to a responsible veterinarian or manager, but unfortunately nobody is available for us this time. From second hand we learn that the male calves are either slaughtered at the company’s own slaughterhouse or resold. After all, they are superfluous to the dairy industry. The EU animal welfare regulations are not complied with – and yet Germany and other EU member states export live animals here.
That's why are committed to banning EU-exports not only of 'slaughter' animals but also of 'breeding' animals. Especially the business with live animals makes such mega-projects possible. Unfortunately, we know that we cannot simply stop such projects. That's why we're working hard to ensure that animal welfare finally gains importance here. It will be a long way. But only this way we can achieve sustainable change for the animals.