Some very depressing food related news
This is partly because of different standards between organic bodies. The Soil Association are anti culling/transportation, believing that the wastefulness of the former runs against the whole organic ethos. I would go further and say that both practices do have an impact on the dairy herd. However, some of the other bodies do not have the same standards, believing that it isn't fair to expect organic dairy farmers to discontinue these practices.
The ideal solution is that organic farmers should have dual purpose herds, ie. both dairy and beef. This means that any male calves can be weaned naturally, so there is no trauma on either side. It also means that there isn't any senseless waste. The other thing to do, and I've mentioned this before, is to start eating British organic veal. People are emotionally put off eating rose veal in this country, because they think of little calves - but they actually live much longer than poultry, lambs, and pigs, too. And the welfare standards of British organics are high. Farmers have to be pragmatic - they are running businesses, and if they're to do this, they need a market for it.
However, in the meantime, I'm not sure what dairy I can safely buy. The biggest independent organic dairy producers in this country, Yeo Valley and Rachel's have, to certain extent, been victims of their own success. They used to be supplied by a small number of organic farmers, many of which were dual purpose (this in particular is the Yeo Valley ideal, and they discuss welfare of calves on their site), but they now get much of their milk from a centralised source under a group called OMSCo - The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative. Unfortunately, whilst most of these are Soil Association accredited, which means no culling, no transportation, others are certified under other bodies which don't have such strict criteria, and this milk is getting into general mix. So, no Yeo Valley for the time being. I'm only going to buy Soil Association accredited stuff, which is going to be very diffcult or some of the Waitrose products.
Now the problem has been highlighted again, the Soil Association are working on getting some agreement between its criteria and those of the other organic certification bodies. According to the TV report, some of the supermarkets, in particular, Waitrose' s select farm products (both organic and non organic) are fully traceable and don't support these practices. And apparently Tesco is following suit. But it looks as though it's going to be a very long time before it's going to be possible to buy more than a very limited range of dairy where the welfare needs of the calves are being taken into account.
For anyone interested, a precis of the report can be found at the link below, along with a link to the actual report: