Shoppers ditch dairy following ‘distressing’ BBC Panorama documentary

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Angry UK customers have taken to social media to boycott the dairy industry following a BBC Panorama documentary exposing cruelty to animals.

The documentary, A Cows Life, which aired on BBC One on Valentine’s Day, saw reporters speaking to vets and farmers about the “controversial” way the milk is flowing.

The report comes as the the average daily yield for a dairy cow is 40% higher than it would have been about 30 years ago. However, in the documentary, a Welsh farm was exposed for animal abuse against its cows, resulting in a dairy boycott.

READ MORE: A Cow’s Life: how will the dairy fall-out affect supermarkets?

Footage shows farmers who worked at the facility constantly kicking and hitting an injured cow, with one even hitting it with a shovel. The footage continues to show another worker aggressively pulling the cow’s tail.

People have taken to social media to express their anger with the industry, with some even saying the price of milk is “too low” after seeing what cows go through.

National Farmers Union (NFU) Cyrmru deputy president Abi Reader said in the documentary: “Even just one extra penny per litre will enable a farmer to upgrade or take advantage of new technology out there so the cows are getting the best care they can”.

As a result, one social media user said: “Ditch dairy even if you can’t find good substitutes.”

Another added: “I had to turn #acowslife off. It was too distressing. What is wrong with people that they can be so cruel to defenceless animals? How can humans be so cold and brutal. #Panorama”

Others urged to “stop drinking milk” following the “shocking footage of animal cruelty”.

Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan also tweeted: “Just watched #ACowsLife the true cost of milk on #panorama anyone who wants to understand why the dairy industry is disgusting, inhumane & careless should watch it.”

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46 Comments. Leave new

  • Will these cruel low life’s be prosecuted?
    That was the most disturbing watch, I also had to turn it off.

    Reply
    • This is very normal in the industry… very similar footage from all over the world, including Canada, where I live. And I’ve witnessed workers beating pigs like this too, and seen with my own eyes the horrendous conditions that chickens and ducks live in as well; we cannot treat someone as a commodity, and imagine that they’re having a good life. The workers and the farm owners SHOULD be prosecuted, yes. But just as important, people and governments need to stop supporting this industry.

      Reply
  • I absolutely sobbed my heart out watching panorama and the disgusting way cows are treated. I don’t care how much more I have to pay if only I can find a dairy where the cows are treated well and their calf’s are not taken away from them. I had no idea this practise went on and I’m sure I’m not on my own. The cruelty shown to those poor poor cows was absolutely horrific, why are these people and farmers who allow this to go on not prosecuted and put out of business? They are not fit to look after animals. This should never be allowed, surely something has to be done???

    Reply
    • You can’t produce milk without taking the baby away otherwise it’s not profitable the only solution is plant based

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      • Be kind and give milk to calves first. Keep cows natural not pump then with hormones . Then any left for humans. This farm.has had funding from banks but still the extreme cruelty goes on. The owners I am sure is a mother herself, animals cows have same intense instincts for their babies and when injured or sick same as humans

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    • There is no such place “where cows are treated well”. In order for cows to produce milk they have to have a calf. The calf would drink the milk (how odd that a baby calf would drink it’s mothers milk that is actually meant for them) so it is taken away and left to die, or shot. This is repeated time and time again until they no longer produce enough milk. At this point they are sent to slaughter, the dairy industry is the meat industry. This is all done so you can have milk in your tea and cheese boards. Consumers are responsible for this, if you stop buying it there will no longer be a market for it and things will change. I ditched dairy over 3 years ago and can gladly say I have no part in this. It now baffles me that humans consume milk that is meant for a baby cow and think this is good for us. The whole thing is a con. Look at nature all of the nutrients come from plants, including calcium and protein. Skip the cow and go right back to the beginning and eat the plants.

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      • Well said, I’ve been vegan nearly 7 years.
        My only regret is I didn’t know about this sooner.

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        • Ive been vegan three years now. I too wish I’d done it years ago. Its truly barbaric…it must end now!

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      • The RSPCA condone a lot of horrific practices on farms such as killing baby piglets by slamming their heads onto walls and killing baby chicks by throwing them live into a macerator because they are Male, the entire animal farming industry is disgusting. Just a week ago the RSPCA took a cat from a footballer because he kicked it but I bet they dont do anything to the scum bags who are featured on the programme show on the BBC the other day

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      • Well said

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    • The programme only touched the tip of the inhumane iceberg. They didn’t even show how we put a bolt into the head of male calves, or they are sold as veal. Poor babies. Imagine if we did this to puppies.

      Reply
    • Not sure how you thought we ended up with the cow’s milk if the calf wasn’t taken away?? This is the harsh reality of human consumption of another animal’s breast milk. They produce it for their calf not for us.

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      • This was only the tip of the iceberg nothing about diary is ethically humane.
        Panorama now need to show next the reality of what happens to the baby calves from the diary industry.
        Humans are weaned why do we need to drink another mother’s milk ?

        Reply
    • You want to go to the slaughterhouse and see how they are treated. That will break your heart💔

      Reply
    • Chrissianne Carpenter
      February 16, 2022 1:23 pm

      So, after all of that you still want to pay farmers for milk? Please think harder. Adults have no need for breast milk. Plus, there are so many alternatives now. No money in the world is going to make it up to those poor cows, who exist for only 5 or 6 years out of their natural 25. They exist. They do not live. This program is a tip of the iceberg and only showed what was suitable for exposure on TV. It is far, far worse than this. Please stop paying for cows to be abused.

      Reply
  • I agree entirely with the earlier comments. What is the matter with these ‘people’ !! Such cruelty to defenceless, sentient creatures. The perpetrators should be sacked and prosecuted!.
    I will stop buying milk unless I can verify the source as treating the cows humanely. Probably not found in supermarkets.
    Do the supermarket buyers check from where they obtain their milk??!

    Reply
  • If you watch this distressing programme it shows one farm in Scotland that doesn’t remove the calves until after a few months, treats the cows humanely, and makes a profit. The difference in the condition of the calves and the herd is remarkable – so healthy, and actually happy looking. This farmer has to be applauded.

    Reply
    • Exactly right that farmer cares
      But is ostracised for doing it differently

      Reply
    • I also blame the supermarkets and buyers wanting cheap milk. Farmers can and should be able to produce ethically as the one in Scotland and many others do. The Welsh farm needs to be closed down and the abusers jailed also the farm owners who would know what’s going on, if they didn’t, they should have. No excuses.

      Reply
    • Chrissianne Carpenter
      February 16, 2022 1:28 pm

      On this magical farm the cows are still raped on a rape rack (the farmers choice of words), they still lose their beloved infants when in nature they would stay bonded for life, just like humans, and doubtless they will still die way before they are 25. There is no kind way to USE non humans for profit. All animal agriculture is cruel and unnecessary. There is no right way to do the wrong thing. Adults have no need for breast milk. Humans should stay weaned when they leave their mother’s breast.

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    • Kathleen walker
      February 17, 2022 2:07 pm

      Yes thank god for a nice farmer

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  • Brutal dairy industry – psychopathic ‘men’ abusing defenseless animals who have only just given birth!
    Video evidence is there – name & shame them & the farm, prosecute & jail.
    Ditch dairy – plenty of cruelty-free alternatives now.
    Shameful!

    Reply
  • The horrendous treatment of defenceless sentiment beings was absolutely disgusting and the farm together with the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The public need to be made honestly aware of how the milk they are drinking and the food they are eating is produced and the suffering involved.

    Reply
  • what can we do to stop this disgustng cruelty to dairy cows? The people shown ill treating these beautiful animals MUST be prosecuted surely- how can they get away with their disgusting behavour-it is recorded so please will someone in authority take action Now- this must not be allowed to continue. Anyone that can treat such a gentle animal in this callous way should and must be punished. This must not be allowed to continue-they cannot be allowed to get away with such cruelty

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  • I agree with others that it’s abnormal to drink animal milk which causes lots of sinus and ear problems and some research has shown, even cancer.
    I had to turn the sickening video footage off. I would like to cause the same harm to these wastes of space as they did to those poor cows, who provide their undeserved living.

    Reply
  • Only glimpsed at tbe tv was so angry and upset it is disuting. How would mums like tbeir babies taken from them. Dairy cows are just impreganated again and again basically it’s rape . Hence reason i’ve been a strict vegan for 3 years. Best thing i have done.Yes if people want milk then the cows should be treated with respect and dignity as they have feelings too but that won’t ever happen so many people on this planet now and all animals for used for dairy and meat and eggs are over produced. Sick and wrong . I hope those sickos be punished for their crimes..thanks for all these people that go under cover other wise we wouldn’t know.

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  • One farm cannot be a representative sample of the British dairy industry any mor than one violent shoplifter is a representative sample of the British public.

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  • How can you have laws that stop you kicking pets but allow cows to be treated this way? There would be an outcry if zoo animals were abused in this way too. It makes no sense. Stop buying the milk

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    • One farm should not be held representative of a whole industry. Yet, abuse is often captured on farms, and the standard industry practices of taking babies away is representative.

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  • Charlotte Newman
    February 15, 2022 7:55 pm

    Well done Panorama. The fluffy ‘farming’ programmes (Countryfile etc) do not show the truth. The truth being abattoirs, brutal and frightening markets, appalling long distance haulage, low paid and unskilled workers, absence of respect for the animals, managers who turn a blind eye to cruelty, and assurance schemes run by farmers for farmers – to keep the public under the illusion that everything is just fine. It is not fine. Well done Panorama for showing the truth.

    Reply
  • Philip Dowsett
    February 15, 2022 8:34 pm

    Can I just say. I think this is absolutely disgusting. Your are branding the dairy Industry bad due to a single video. The majority of dairy farms adhere to very high standards. I am farmer myself and non of our animals suffer like this..Yes cows go lame but so do people as an excuse to sit on their arses at home and claim benefits. Not drinking milk is not good for the human body, it provides calcium which is good for bones. How much calcium do you get from a nut? I truly believe that you are filling the nation’s head with absolute shite.

    Reply
  • Philip Dowsett
    February 15, 2022 9:25 pm

    Why has my reply been refused? Are you too scared of the truth being spoken. All your posts are biased against the dairy industry.

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  • I could only watch the first minute of the programme then sat in shocked silence then burst into tears. No more dairy for me after seeing this cruel and evil treatment of such beautiful animals

    Reply
  • It was utterly sickening to see the outrageous abuse and cruelty to both cows and calves. People responsible for the inhumane treatment of these beautiful sentient creatures must be prosecuted and these appalling practices ended. Name and shame this farm in Wales. There is never an excuse for this disgusting behaviour.

    Reply
  • In my view the only people who have a right to choose not to watch this horrific abuse of animals (cows in this case) are those of us who are vegan. Otherwise, if it’s too uncomfortable for your eyes I would suggest it should be too uncomfortable for your stomach too.

    Reply
  • Chrissianne Carpenter
    February 16, 2022 1:29 pm

    On this magical farm the cows are still raped on a rape rack (the farmers choice of words), they still lose their beloved infants when in nature they would stay bonded for life, just like humans, and doubtless they will still die way before they are 25. There is no kind way to USE non humans for profit. All animal agriculture is cruel and unnecessary. There is no right way to do the wrong thing. Adults have no need for breast milk. Humans should stay weaned when they leave their mother’s breast.

    Reply
  • Someone say name and shame the farm – it was Maddox Farm. South Wales. They supply milk and dairy to Costa, londis , British airways

    Reply
    • Maureen Johnson
      February 23, 2022 12:36 pm

      Thank you for the name of this disgusting farm. I could barely watch it I was so upset and crying. It should be closed immediately and confiscated and the cows placed in rescue where they can have a kind, caring life for the rest of their lives. I will never drink cows milk again nor eat cheese made from cows milk. I’m pretty much a vegetarian anyway.

      Reply
  • I was working in the dairy industry for over 30 years as a milk roundsman for a large doorstep dairy company. It is a FACT that profits on milk were and still are massive. These companies like to keep telling the public of the benefits of buying milk in glass bottles, but would never tell you how much profit they make on a pint of of milk ( it is massive profit ) because of the pittance they offer to farmers per litre. Large doorstep milk delivery companies have been and still are rubbing their hands together and literally having the cream

    Reply
  • I have lived near a dairy farm in the past and heard the bellowing of cows looking for there calves that were snatched from them at less than 48 hrs old. They call and search for them for up to 2 days the sound is haunting. Sadly this is how we all get our milk.

    Reply
  • Jacs Chennilly-Goss
    February 19, 2022 12:53 pm

    What is the RSPCA doing about this, and will the people who abused the poor animal be prosecuted.

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  • I still can’t stop crying after seeing that video. If the price of milk was quadrupled, those people would still brutalise the animals because they get pleasure from it. No human being with compassion for animals could work in a place where they would witness such cruelty. We need an army of people who want to defend and protect animals, on the ground visiting farms, and schools to educate children. Children need to know the truth. They are the future.

    Reply
  • It was working on farms prior to uni over 30 years ago that alerted me to how badly some farm animals were treated and the methods used to raise and kill them for food and milk. I wish this programme was shown much earlier in the evening so hopefully more people would have been able to watch it – though some people just to not want to acknowledge the suffering animals have to go through…

    Reply

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