Actress Miriam Margolyes Discovers The Truth About the Dairy Industry

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“I’ve been on a journey of discovery…. I don’t mince my words, so I will tell you the truth: it broke my heart. But I am also thankful that this has been brought to my attention. Everyone deserves to know the truth. If we’re successful, more people will choose plant-based options and they’ll drink less cows’ milk, which means fewer cows will be separated and killed. I really believe we can make a difference. The world is harsh. Let’s make it kinder.”

Miriam Margolyes
Actress and Supporter of Animal Equality

Transition to a brighter future

With 1 in 3 Brits now reported to be consuming plant-based milks on a regular basis, the nation is stepping away from supporting this industry. Our supermarket shelves are overflowing with plant-based milks, cheese and yoghurt alternatives.

Despite this, British dairy farmers received over £56 million annually in direct Government payments over recent years, making up nearly 40% of their profits.

That’s why Miriam Margolyes is joining Animal Equality in urging the UK Government to shift subsidies from the dairy industry to fund plant-based alternatives and offer financial support for farmers transitioning to arable farming or land rewilding programmes.

A brighter future is within our grasp. Make a change for cows and calves today, by ditching dairy and by signing our petition!

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Our Investigations Inside The Dairy Industry

Animal Equality has investigated over 140 dairy farms all over the world – four here in the UK – exposing the industry’s darkest secrets.

The True Cost of Milk: An Investigation Inside a Welsh Dairy Farm

In February 2022, Animal Equality published a shocking investigation inside a UK dairy farm exposing extreme violence and neglect.

The investigation was broadcast by BBC One's Panorama in a 30-minute episode that was seen by millions.

The reaction was huge, with hundreds of outraged people pledging to ditch dairy products.

Calves Brutally Force-Fed Inside a UK Organic Farm

An Animal Equality investigation conducted into a UK organic dairy farm revealed shocking scenes of distressed calves being brutally handled and force-fed. The farm was a known supplier of Waitrose supermarkets.

The images captured by our investigators also showed the forced separation of mother cows from their calves, an inescapable part of the dairy industry.

Inside a UK 'higher welfare' dairy farm

Animal Equality investigators filmed a UK dairy farm which supplied milk to Marks & Spencer, a supermarket that promotes itself as a leader in animal welfare standards.

The images that our investigators captured show calves confined in small solitary pens for up to six months, breaking British animal welfare law which states that calves should be moved to group pens at the age of eight weeks. As sensitive and sociable animals, this isolation is unbearably difficult for the animals.

Calves Freeze to Death in a US Dairy Farm

Animal Equality released images obtained by an undercover investigator who went inside a giant American ranch that is home to over 11,000 calves and a supplier to the group that makes cheese for the well-known brand, Babybel.

The images show the immeasurable psychological pain of these calves who are separated from their mothers only half an hour after birth, after which they suffer nothing but life-long suffering and violence. They live in such extreme conditions that some of them die in agony, in the cold, with no one to care for them.

Behind Italian buffalo mozzarella

More than half a million buffaloes are bred every year in Italy, who are increasingly confined to intensive farms. Animal Equality uncovered what happens during the production of buffalo mozzarella in Northern Italy.

We documented the terrible and unsanitary conditions these animals are made to endure, including buffaloes forced to live in so much urine and faeces that it reaches their knees, male buffaloes left to die of hunger and thirst, and dead buffaloes abandoned near others who are still alive.

'Dairy cows' do not exist

Cows are often called 'dairy cows', as if their purpose in life is to produce milk for human consumption. This is a common misconception, a result of decades of advertising by the industry that wanted us to believe that drinking cow’s milk is necessary, normal and natural, when in fact the opposite is true.

But the truth is that cows used for their milk in the dairy industry are all mothers.

Just like humans, a cow only produces milk for her baby. Once she becomes pregnant, she carries her baby in her womb for nine months before giving birth. Once she gives birth, she starts producing milk for her newborn calf – milk that her baby would naturally drink during the first 10 months of his or her life. However, on dairy farms, the milk she produces will not be given to her baby, as it will instead be bottled up for human consumption. And so her calf is separated from her – often within just hours or days of being born – and swapped for a milking machine which is attached to her teats. This process lasts for three months until she is impregnated again in order to maintain unnaturally high yields of milk production.

This cruel, abusive cycle is repeated on average three or four times until the cow – exhausted by the repeated pregnancies, births and unnatural milk production – is killed and sold for cheap meat.

The separation of cows and calves is extremely distressing for both the mother and her baby. During multiple investigations carried out by Animal Equality, mother cows and their newborn calves have been filmed calling out to each other desperately for hours or searching for each other in vain. These scenes can only be described as heartbreaking.

But together we can stop this and give motherhood back to these animals. By choosing plant-based alternatives, we can spare millions of animals incredible suffering and make this world a kinder, more compassionate place.

Animal Equality UK is a registered charity. We rely on the generous support of compassionate people like you to fund our work. Please help animals by giving today.

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