GRANA PADANO AND ANIMAL WELFARE
The “Grana Padano system” has always focused its utmost attention on the quality of the production and the way in which it daily operates to offer this quality, guaranteeing a healthy and genuine product to the consumers. Quality requires a lot of effort and time. It is only achieved by constantly investing dedication and resources into research and following procedures that respect the laws in force, and which enhance every aspect of the production process from the livestock to the dairy and to the ageing.
In fact, the Grana Padano production process starts right in the cowsheds, and only high-quality milk, which can only be obtained exclusively from healthy and well-kept cows, provides a quality product. The approximately 4,500 farms that deliver milk to the Grana Padano's cheese dairies are well aware of this, and the Grana Padano Protection Consortium places great importance to this factor of sensibility and respect, by firmly asking its cheese factory Members, to recommend to the milking farmers, to do their best for animal welfare and implement the best practices to produce the highest quality milk.
Therefore, we reject the allegations of those who would like to convey the false and devious message that the Grana Padano Protection Consortium does not care about the welfare of cows producing milk for Grana Padano cheese.
It is the exact opposite. In fact, since 21st April 2017, the Members’ Annual Assembly of the Grana Padano Protection Consortium, deliberated to introduce a system which imposes and measures animal welfare in a definite way. These measures have not yet been implemented only because we must wait for the approval of the Italian Agriculture Ministry and the EU of prior amendments (proposed in 2014).
To prove our actions and our goodwill, we would like to point out that according to a study carried out in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, 134 evaluated milking farms, taken by random sampling, showed a definitively good animal welfare level. Of these, 96 had an average score of 151.23 points, equal to 67.47% of the evaluation range (range between 51.45 - 199.35 points) and thus classified as excellent.
The 38 remaining ones obtained a good evaluation with an average score of 121,31 points (59,62% in the evaluation range), which is broadly in the second third of the available score (range 43.24 - 174.42 points).
All this to reiterate that the investments and attention to the whole production chain are based on quality, at all levels.
On the question of the cow fodder, according to the Production Specification, the forage and feed must mainly come from the Grana Padano PDO production area, in Northern Italy, where OGM cultures are notably banned. Only soy, which in any case is a minimal part of their daily ration, if imported, might be OGM.
Unfortunately, as in any productive sector involving a large number of people, it is sometimes possible to detect someone who does not follow exactly the laws or common sense. This should promptly be reported to allow remedies and actions to be taken by who is in charge for control and protection. In any case, a few “inadequate and defaulting” milking farms, are certainly not representative of the average milking farm in the “Grana Padano system”.
A healthy and well looked-after cow produces better milk under every aspect. So, it is in the best interest of every intelligent and capable producer to give the greatest attention to the standards of living of his cattle, to protect his activity, and, especially, as a guarantee to the consumer.
That is why, as mentioned before, on 21st April, the Grana Padano Protection Consortium’s General Assembly deliberated on the absolute respect for animal welfare. It's a journey that started long ago, which must and will continue so as to guarantee an overall improvement of the entire system.