Viva! Dairy Investigations and Resources
Viva! has conducted several investigations of British dairy farms documenting the reality of modern dairy farming (described below). We have produced a number of resources, including investigation and educational videos that are available through our YouTube page www.youtube.com/user/vivaorg and on our website www.whitelies.org.uk.
Our five minute video The Dark Side of Dairy provides an authentic overview of the British dairy industry, watch it at www.youtube.com/user/vivaorg.
Cadbury farms investigation (2011): A Calf and a Half
Our undercover investigators have been inside 15 dairy farms that supply Cadbury with milk and exposed the shocking reality of how the milk for our dairy foods is produced for one of Britain’s top confectionary brands.
We filmed the shocking fate of the male Cadbury calves. Useless to the dairy industry, these ‘by products’ are separated from their mothers at only hours old and disposed of. We witnessed a baby male calf callously shot in the head, his body (along with others) went to the local hunt for hound food. This is the fate of numerous Cadbury calves. Others will be sold into the cruel veal industry or slaughtered for pet food.
We filmed the trauma of birth and separation; including birth complications where a device called a ‘jack’ is used to pull the calf out. We also documented the stressful separation of mother and calf and the subsequent calling of both. The separated calves are housed in small pens in very basic conditions.
We saw cows with distended udders producing 39 litres of milk a day, zero-grazed dairy cattle and cows with debilitating illnesses – mastitis (udder infection), lameness and milk fever.
The shooting of the calf
A beautiful little calf just a few days old bellows incessantly from a stone shed. He is as perfect as he could be – perfectly formed, perfectly healthy. He is distraught because he has just been separated from his mother and is bewildered and frightened.
“He won’t be shouting much longer,” says a boiler-suited farmer as a land rover growls up the track into the farm, towing a highsided trailer. “Come on then,” he says opening the gate and ushering the little creature towards the trailer. The teetering, young calf doesn’t quite know which way to go and needs urging – but his legs give up on him and he falls over.
The tailgate of the trailer is down revealing a half-full mosaic of black and white, a pattern that quickly resolves itself into individual shapes – a large cow and several calves. All are dead. The driver picks up the calf and places him on top of the pile of corpses, climbing up after him, taking a revolver from his pocket as he does so.
He holds the calf’s back while they both try to balance on the pliable bodies beneath their feet and then levels the revolver at the animal’s head: “For God’s sake keep still,” he says with irritation. BANG! And the tiny creature collapses in a heap, his life extinguished just like the lives of over 100,000 other male calves across Britain each year. The man climbs down, smiling at the farmer, desensitised by constant repetition of the task. This man is from the local hunt.
A notice on the side of the trailer completes the story: “Not for human consumption,” it says, “For feeding to hounds.” Royal hounds, as it happens, as this load of dead dairy animals is destined for the Beaufort hunt, patronised by Prince Charles, his wife Camilla and Prince William.
Nanny State (2012):
The Truth about Goat’s Milk Goats’ milk comes from happy animals on small rural farms. Right? Well, that’s what the industry wants you to believe. However, you don’t have to scratch very far beneath the surface to find a far more unpalatable truth. In short, the kids are not all right. Through a series of ground-breaking undercover investigations Viva! has shone a light on the rapidly expanding goat’s dairy industry in the UK – including farms that supply the UK’s biggest supermarkets.
Our exposé has documented illegal mutilations of baby animals and other legal but extremely painful procedures – including the disbudding of baby goats, painful castrations with a tight rubber band fitted above billy goat’s testes so they gradually shrivel (without pain relief).
We filmed goats with abnormally distended udders and swollen teats, lame goats with overgrown hooves, sores, goats who couldn’t stand up, piles of dead carcasses, intensified zero-grazing farming practices and unwanted billy goats. It is this intensification that has allowed the industry to surpass the production of 2 million litres a year in Britain for the first time.
In May 2012, we filmed undercover at Upper Enson Farm (Britain’s largest grazing goat herd) in Staffordshire, who milk around 1,800 goats for Delamere Dairies – who supply M&S, Waitrose, The Co-op, Sainsbury’s and a number of other major UK retailers. In September/October 2011, we also filmed at Bromes Farm in Somerset, which farms around 1,200 zero-grazed goats and supplies Tesco.
The system works the same way for dairy goats as it does for dairy cows – females are used to replenish the herd, but males can’t produce milk so they are either killed at birth or kept for meat for the growing ethnic market. Almost all kid goats suffer at least one painful mutilation – and often without anaesthetic.