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Panorama. The Dairy Industry

(105 Posts)
Sloegin Tue 15-Feb-22 23:16:19

Did anyone watchthe Panorama programme about dairy cows last night? It was deeply distressing and has seriously prompted me to become a vegan. I'm a farmer's daughter and, when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, it was all on a much smaller scale and I never witnessed such cruelty towards animals. Cows were milked twice a day and I'm pretty sure the calves weren't separated from the mothers so early. I become a vegetarian in the 80s as I disapproved of intensive farming but still ate dairy. I have been using organic milk in the hope that the cows are better treated. Milk is just too cheap. People have been willing to pay little more for free range eggs when they realised that caging hens was cruel so I would hope that people would pay more for milk if welfare standards were higher. Cheap food generally means a vulnerable person or animal is paying the price.

Bodach Tue 15-Feb-22 23:38:26

I didn't see the programme, but I would be very happy to pay more for my milk - for the benefit of both the cows and the dairy farmers. Milk has been too cheap for too long.

Kate1949 Tue 15-Feb-22 23:44:09

I watched the first couple of minutes but when I saw someone kicking a cow and someone else hitting a cow in the face with a shovel, that was enough for me.

Chestnut Tue 15-Feb-22 23:49:06

Exactly what I was going to say Bodach. I have always said I'd be happy to pay more for milk if the welfare of the animals was a priority along with decent payment to farmers. I think it's disgusting that we get 2.27 litres of milk for £1.25 (I think that's four pints). It should be at least double that. People have become so accustomed to cheap food they just take it for granted.

Sloegin Tue 15-Feb-22 23:50:04

Some interesting comments on this site-

BlueSky Tue 15-Feb-22 23:55:04

I didn’t watch but showing abuse on a particular farm doesn’t mean all cows in the UK are treated appallingly. I’m already a strict vegetarian (no meat fish eggs) and if that was the case, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop cheese as well.

DillytheGardener Wed 16-Feb-22 00:03:43

I buy Graham’s milk, high welfare farms and organic. They leave the calves with the mothers for longer.

paddyann54 Wed 16-Feb-22 00:05:05

I get my milk from a farm I can see from my sitting room window,I know the family who run it and have had their milk for the 47 years I've been married.Their cows are not ill treated ,I can vouch for that ,neither are the animals at my friends farm at the other side of the valley where I get beef and lamb ,I've known that family sonce I was 12 .
I'm sure there will be some farmers who ill treat their livestock but not all do it by any means.Most are very careful of animal welfare

Chestnut Wed 16-Feb-22 00:08:24

I think I will write to all the supermarkets and tell them how disgusting it is to keep milk prices so low. They should raise the prices and give the farmers a much bigger cut. The supermarkets are the biggest sellers of milk and the cheapest. We should take advantage of this wave of public anger and strike now to ruffle their feathers.

Kate1949 Wed 16-Feb-22 00:10:25

Sorry to be dim but how do we know that we are buying our milk/dairy from farms where cows are not mis treated? Yes I know most aren't. If we stop buying milk/dairy, what will happen to the farmers who look after their cows?

Chestnut Wed 16-Feb-22 00:11:13

My family in Wales have been dairy farmers since before I was born, so 70 plus years, and they do not abuse their cows. I don't know where their milk goes.

SueDonim Wed 16-Feb-22 00:18:46

I have doorstep milk delivered from local family farms and if I need extra I buy organic milk. Ditto organic eggs. They’re the only ones you can guarantee the hens don’t have their beaks clipped.

vegansrock Wed 16-Feb-22 06:06:04

Try oat milk, it has a creamy taste and is good on cereals and in tea and coffee. Can be substituted for animal milk in any recipe. Can be grown in U.K., it is much better environmentally than dairy in terms of land, water use and carbon emissions., comes in cardboard cartons not plastic. Some U.K. farmers are switching from dairy production to plant milks as it’s more profitable( the bottom line). The dairy industry with its intensive methods is inherently cruel. The animals are exploited merely for their bodily fluids, repeatedly impregnated,separated from their babies and slaughtered when they get ill or don’t produce as much - their lives are far from natural.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 16-Feb-22 06:49:08

I deliberately didn’t watch it as I get so upset.

So today is the first step to what I hope will be our dairy free diet.

I am ordering 2 pts oat milk to replace semi-skimmed milk.

Oat milk uses less water and land than any other form of milk.

I’ll start with that to see if we like it and go from there.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 16-Feb-22 06:49:57

I may have repeated others but can’t read them as I get too upset😢😬

vegansrock Wed 16-Feb-22 07:16:16

WW2 good for you - try it on cereal or porridge - you won’t notice the difference. If you want it in tea or coffee you might prefer the barista versions but give it a good shake and you’ll get a nice consistency. Like everything, once you get used to
it there’s no going back! I have one of those little milk frothers so I enjoy an oat milk latte or cappuccino and it’s really creamy

Sloegin Wed 16-Feb-22 08:09:21

Interesting to see that that everyone seems to agree that milk is too cheap and animal welfare important. We're a very small sample but I have a feeling that if the general public were aware of these issues they'd demand higher standards and pay more. In recent years, no doubt because of pressure from supermarkets to keep prices low, cows on these large dairy farms have been bred to have higher yields, are made to produce calves more often and are milked more frequently. The fact that they're milked more frequently means they stand more on concrete floors causing joint problems. Those of you who can buy direct from high welfare farms are very fortunate but most folk can't do that. I had to fast forward some of the Panorama programme as so harrowing but saw enough to make me more aware of the problems in milk production. As I mentioned in my post I'm a farmer's daughter but also, for some years, lived beside a dairy farm in Devon. I was upset one day to see the farmer, a respectable member of the local council, a JP and an apparently pleasant man hitting a cow with a bucket when he and the farmhand had removed the calf and the mother was trying to follow it. I also used to hate the noise of the cows roaring when their calves had been taken away, usually within 24 hours. I've been trying all sorts of plant milks and like Alpro My Cuppa in tea. I think it's cheese I'd miss most if I went vegan.

tickingbird Wed 16-Feb-22 08:14:33

I didn’t watch the programme as I find it too distressing. I’m involved in animal welfare and factory farming is truly horrific. Many people don’t connect milk to pregnant cows. They just take it for granted.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 16-Feb-22 08:14:42


WW2 good for you - try it on cereal or porridge - you won’t notice the difference. If you want it in tea or coffee you might prefer the barista versions but give it a good shake and you’ll get a nice consistency. Like everything, once you get used to
it there’s no going back! I have one of those little milk frothers so I enjoy an oat milk latte or cappuccino and it’s really creamy

I’ve ordered the barista version. Expensive!! But I will definitely go for it.

Cheese is a massive weakness though as is butter🤔

Whitewavemark2 Wed 16-Feb-22 08:18:31

Yes I am pleased that this is finally beginning to be talked about.

For years we have been fed pap by such programmes as Countryfile and the farmers market programmes, and I always knew how bad it was.

I feel that I can no longer in all conscience continue to buy milk.

ShazzaKanazza Wed 16-Feb-22 08:29:07

I’d happily pay more for milk but it’s easy for me to say we only buy a two pint every week for DH. We don’t have a big family to feed now. I drink soya milk in my tea. I couldn’t have watched that programme it would have upset me too much.
Just on a different note my daughter is a pescatarian but while she’s been pregnant she decided to eat a little meat but only organic. We buy organic chicken for a Sunday lunch if they are coming and DH always gets a bit huffy about the 15 pound cost but as I say that has once been a life so it’s worth it.

Iam64 Wed 16-Feb-22 08:41:12

I didn’t watch, I’d read about the cow being kicked and another hit in the face with a shovel. I’m afraid I couldn’t put myself through the distress.
We are fortunate in getting milk, free range eggs, butter and yoghurt all made at a local farm and delivered to our door. It’s more expensive than the supermarket but so much better quality.
It also operates as an open farm so for an entrance fee, you can spend a day there. We take our grandchildren, you see the cows in the field, see cows and calves in huge clean barns. They have hens, ducks, the occasional litter of sheep dog pups - plus a small play ground with picnic tables. A grand day out

I know food is expensive but we need to return to buying local produce.

Shinamae Wed 16-Feb-22 08:51:06

I didn’t watch it, I was unaware it was on actually but I’m glad reading this thread that I didn’t see it…..😓….I have switched to oat milk,took a little while to get used to it but fine now..

BlueSky Wed 16-Feb-22 09:01:48

Same here I’ve already switched to plant milk, don’t have butter but cheese is my weakness. Any alternatives to that?

MaizieD Wed 16-Feb-22 09:03:01

This willingness to pay more for milk, or change to expensive alternatives is all very fine, but it isn't going to work for those people who have to choose between heating or eating.

Not that I've any idea as to what the solution is; just trying to think round it.