I the one hand I immediately feel uncomfortable with the idea, as I don’t naturally feel that being constrained will maximise animal welfare (which is the reason why you would want to constrain the actions of the farmer). This comes from the “factory farm” argument.
On the other hand, I don’t know how these “cubicles” make the animal feel – could it be that they are happier in them? I don’t know exactly what these cubicles are like, and whether an “investment” in them would actually be beneficial for cow welfare.
This way of framing the argument says “it is costly for farmers to invest these in facilities that will improve animal welfare, so they are doing too little” – actually implying the opposite result to the factory farming argument.
A few weeks ago I was at a presentation on dairy cow welfare. In it the presenter was complaining that farmers had invested too little in these sorts of facilities, as in many ways (the animals health, ease of getting to feed, stress levels) these facilities would improve animal welfare. If this is true I would have to say I am pro.
However, I do not know enough about the current scheme, or the preferences of cows, to decide whether I think it is a good idea. Hopefully, any policy will explore the impact on animal welfare before we policy is made.
I do have one strong view though. Stop sending me facebook group invites suggesting that I should sign a petition.