Perhaps the Organic standards, set by the Soil Association or one of four other agencies seem poor by our “noble” standards. But the alternative lifestyles for regular dairy herds are indeed bleak in comparison.
The positive rules for the well-being of the organic herd, although unlike our herd, still slaughter-based have a profound, positive effect on the lives of the cows, bulls and calves in their care.
A herd on an organic farm spend at least half their time outdoors in the fresh air. Many non-organic cows never see a field during their entire, brief lives. Indoors an Organic herd recieve more good quality bedding and room.
Antibiotics are only used when necessary for the health of the cow, and their food is also organic, meaning no antibiotics, pesticides and chemicals to pass along to humans consuming this dairy produce. (At the point of this writing, chickens as well as humans are suffering from the same antibiotic-resistance problems. See onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j for details.)
The Organic cow’s food itself is mainly organically-produced clover-rich grass and fresh forage, with a maximum 40% concentrates and no intensive food supplements. The cows are less stressed, more comfortable and healthier.
Female calves recieve their mother’s milk for at least three months, and the Soil Association is working to improve the lot of the male calves, but sadly in a farming culture with no role for bulls at this time, this is difficult.
So no, Organic dairy produce is not slaughter-free, but until our newly established herd becomes a model for slaughter-free herds to become established where you live, supporting the Organic Dairy Farmers is still the next best thing at this time for those of us who want/need to include dairy in our diet. (Below is one of our cows Tilly, happily chewing frsh grass on her Organic farm.)