Bovine mastitis is one of the most important endemic diseases of our farmed animals. Despite the fact that mastitis is considered to have a substantial deleterious impact on animal welfare and farm finances, there is little evidence of any significant improvements during the last 20 years. In fact, the situation may be worsening. We discuss the reasons for this state of affairs and promote the discussion of possible solutions. Preliminary results from a national mastitis project are presented and include an assessment of the current UK situation and initial findings from an intervention study on mastitis control. We encourage the veterinary profession to consider its current and future roles in improving udder health on UK dairy farms.